Bobcats-Raptors Preview

The Associated Press

The Toronto Raptors look different than they did in two earlier meetings with the Charlotte Bobcats, but they will probably see the best of Gerald Henderson for the first time.

Henderson looks to build on the most productive game of his career - a rare victory for the league-worst Bobcats - on Friday night in Toronto.

These clubs have split two meetings, with both coming before the Raptors (25-40) acquired Rudy Gay on Jan. 30. Henderson missed the Bobcats' 98-97 home win Nov. 21 with a foot injury and had two points in 17 minutes off the bench in a 99-78 road defeat Jan. 11.

Henderson has started the last 29 games, and he finished with a career-high 35 points on 11-of-19 shooting Tuesday in a 100-74 rout of Boston.

"I was just trying to be aggressive from the start and just attack," he said.

Charlotte (14-50) ended a 10-game slide with its most lopsided victory in three seasons.

"We've had a tough season," Henderson said. "The toughest thing has been coming here every day, practicing hard and going through shootaround and watching film and stuff and then not really translating itself into wins, not really showing itself. So it feels great anytime we can win."

Henderson made all 12 of his free throws for a Charlotte team that ranks among the best in the NBA with 25.3 attempts per game in that department.

That could be a problem area for Toronto, which was unhappy with the Celtics' 35-19 advantage in free throws in Wednesday's 112-88 loss in Boston. Sebastian Telfair was ejected at the end of the third quarter.

"We haven't been getting calls all year. We let frustration set in and we can't let that happen," coach Dwane Casey said.

Gay scored 19 points in his return after missing a game with a stiff back. He said the injury did not hinder him, although he made just 7 of 19 shots.

"No matter whether you have a bad game or not, whether you lose, you have another one coming up," Gay said. "We have to be professional and try to get the next one."

Terrence Ross has scored in double figures in a season-best three straight games after he had 13 points against the Celtics. Fellow rookie Jonas Valanciunas had his streak of such performances end at three - also a season high - after he scored nine.

"Both of them are trying, working at it," Casey said. "Jonas is learning every new situation, Terrence the same thing. Again, this is part of the growth process."

Toronto has lost seven of nine entering a brief homestand, which ends Sunday with league-leading Miami in town.

"We know we've got Charlotte coming in," forward Amir Johnson said. "We know we've got to play better and get the next one."

The Raptors announced before Wednesday's game that oft-injured Andrea Bargnani is expected to be out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

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