Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Wednesday, December 4th
Game 2: Sunday, January 5th
Game 3: Wednesday, January 29th
Game 4: Friday, March 28th

Raptors 74

(6-12, 3-7 away)

Hornets 89

(13-6, 10-0 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, December 4, 2002

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 22 18 18 1674
    NO 18 23 22 2689

    Top Performers

    Toronto: V. Carter 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    New Orleans: B. Davis 18 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 5 Stl

    Hornets perfect at home (10-0) in New Orleans

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Baron Davis' bad back didn't look so bad to the Toronto Raptors as they watched him lead the New Orleans Hornets to an 89-74 victory Wednesday night.


    Davis sat out two games this week because of pain caused by a herniated disc but was a surprise starter and led New Orleans with 18 points while running the Hornets' offense for 40 minutes.

    "Davis looked good to me,'' Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "I don't know what his injuries are, but he played well.''

    Characterizing his health at about 75 percent, Davis said decided to play after feeling relatively little pain when he woke up and stretched Wednesday morning.

    "I feel loose, but I can't jump and I can't finish above the rim,'' Davis said, pointing out that he barely made a dunk after a steal in the second quarter.

    He started slow, hitting one of his first four shots and turning the ball over once. But his ballhandling and passing looked sharp after that. He made several spin and behind-the-back moves as he drove to the hoop.

    "When you get out on the court you've just got to give it your all and whatever happens, happens,'' Davis said. "I've just got to tough it out and keep stretching and everything should work out.''

    Davis also had eight rebounds and five steals -- and his five assists could have been higher if several crisp passes inside hadn't been mishandled or ended up as missed shots.

    Jamaal Magloire added 16 points, and P.J. Brown 15 for New Orleans, now 10-0 at home.

    Brown said he was surprised to see Davis on the floor during warmups and a little concerned over whether Davis was pushing himself to come back too early.

    "I wasn't expecting him to play until maybe next week sometime,'' Brown said. "I though he played well for being out a couple games. He's our franchise guy and his energy takes us to another level ... but I'd say if you're not in great condition, don't play, because we'd rather have him later on in the season.''

    Vince Carter scored 26 points for Toronto, but he had little help as the Raptors shot 36 percent (30-of-83) and went stone cold during a critical stretch of the fourth quarter.

    "We got every shot we wanted on offense and it was just a night where we couldn't put it in the hole,'' Carter said. "It's just a situation where we've got to come back and play, come back and knock down some shots, go back to practice and go back to the drawing board.''

    Antonio Davis had 11 rebounds but shot only 1-for-15 from the field. Alvin Williams scored 13 for Toronto, playing with what Wilkens said was a sore ankle.

    New Orleans took control with a 16-0 spurt that took up the first half of the fourth quarter. Elden Campbell had a jumper, a layup after an offensive rebound and a pair of free throws during the run, while Courtney Alexander hit two free throws and a 3-pointer that gave the Hornets a 77-60 lead with just under six minutes left.

    Toronto failed to score on eight straight possessions during the run, missing seven shots -- one after an offensive rebound -- and turning the ball over twice.

    "Our whole game picks up when our defense picks up and we start playing in the passing lanes and causing havoc,'' Brown said. "Our transition game starts and we start making layups.''

    Jamaal Mashburn scored 10 for New Orleans, as did Campbell.

    Both teams struggled in the first half.

    Four minutes into the second quarter the Hornets were shooting about 25 percent and looking sluggish compared to their victory in Chicago a night earlier. But the Raptors could only push their lead as high as nine.

    New Orleans then put together a quick 7-0 run to tie the game at 31. It started with a 3-pointer from Mashburn. Davis followed with layup after putting the ball behind his back during the drive. Davis then stole the ball and dunked.

    The teams fought evenly through the rest of the period. After Carter caught a high pass in the lane and converted a reverse dunk, the Hornets missed their next shot, but Davis stole the ball back quickly and fed Magloire for a tomahawk jam to give the Hornets a 41-40 lead at halftime.

    Game notes

    The Hornets, who led 63-58 after three quarters, are 11-0 when leading entering the final period. ... A night after leading the Hornets with 25 points in a victory at Chicago, David Wesley missed all eight of his shots and did not score. ... Singer Justin Hopkins struggled with the Canadian anthem. He appeared to have forgotten the lyrics and relied on the scoreboard, but verses came up slowly, causing uncomfortable pauses. He also misread some of the words and at one point sang "true land of the brave,'' instead of "true north strong and free.'' Hopkins had no problems with the American national anthem. ... Bryce Drew, activated before gametime after missing the first 18 games of the season with a fracture near his eye, got his first playing time late in the fourth quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 74 89
    FGM-FGA 30-83 (.361) 33-83 (.398)
    3PM-3PA 2-14 (.143) 5-11 (.455)
    FTM-FTA 12-17 (.706) 18-22 (.818)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-41 11-50
    Assists 17 21
    Turnovers 12 12
    Steals 5 10
    Blocks 7 2
    Fast Break Points 4 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 26
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3
    Baron Davis Davis
    Points: 18
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 0