Bobcats top Raptors for third-straight home win
Behind 25 points from Byron Mullens and 21 points from Gerald Henderson, the Charlotte Bobcats continued their roll at home on Wednesday.
The Bobcats defeated the Toronto Raptors 107-101, notching their third-straight victory at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The three-game home winning streak is the first for Charlotte since March 2011 when the 'Cats defeated New York (114-106), Milwaukee (87-86) and Cleveland (98-97).
“We have to take advantage of being at home," Mullens said. "We have another one at home on Saturday before we go down to Miami, so we just have to try to take advantage of the home court like we have the past few games.”
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap is proud of his team's perseverance.
"What’s amazing to me is that we’ve gone through a lot," Dunlap said. "We know what our record is. For them to be playing like this just means that the players like each other and that’s a good thing to know. I think our youth helps us, but I think the veterans deserve a lot of credit, too."
Charlotte scored 54 points off of the bench against the Raptors, led by Mullens' 25 points. Ben Gordon added 16 bench points, while Jannero Pargo tallied 11.
"The chemistry's good. The bench had 54 points, so they deserve a lot of credit for that," Dunlap said. "You can’t have a bench do that if your chemistry’s not working."
Trailing 54-49 at halftime, Toronto stayed in Wednesday's game behind forward Rudy Gay's play.
Gay, who was acquired by the Raptors in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 30, scored a game-high 25 points, including 11 in the second half, and also grabbed eight rebounds.
“I’m still new to the team, and I’m just trying to get people in the right positions," Gay said. "People are trapping from my position, and it’s been a while since people were trapping from the small forward position against me. It’s an adjustment. It’s nobody’s fault. It just comes from us playing together a little bit longer.”
DeMar DeRozan added 19 points in the game — 16 of which came in the first half — while Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas were just behind with 18 points each in the Toronto starting line up.
The Raptors were impressive from the free throw line, making all 26 of their attempts from the charity stripe.
However, poor 3-point shooting hindered Toronto against Charlotte. The Raptors were just 15.4 percent from behind the arc in the first half and finished the game 5-for-22 (22.7 percent). Gay had two of those five makes.
Charlotte's Josh McRoberts followed up a 17-point, seven-rebound performance against Washington by having possibly the best performance of his five starts with the Bobcats this season.
McRoberts tallied 12 points, 12 rebounds and three assists against the Raptors on Wednesday and provided key contributions down the stretch for the 'Cats.
“I think moving the ball is key to us winning," McRoberts said. "I think that we make our runs when we are in transition and when we are moving the ball well and getting good looks.”
Toronto got as close as 94-93 in the fourth quarter, but the Bobcats remain resilient down the stretch with stingy defense and clutch free throws to come away with the victory.
Charlotte will try to make it four in a row at home on Saturday against Detroit Pistons before hitting the road for a Sunday game against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat, which has won their last 24 games.