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Raptors looking for mini-sweep against Hornets

Jan 10, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels (6) in the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After making a season-best 20 3-pointers on Tuesday, the Toronto Raptors hope the hot shooting continues Thursday night as they go for a two-game sweep of the visiting Charlotte Hornets.

The 132-120 victory over Charlotte on Tuesday gave the Raptors two straight wins and a 2-2 record so far on a six-game homestand. They will be going for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

The 20-for-44 (45.5 percent) shooting from beyond the arc was encouraging for the Raptors, whose shooting has been inconsistent. They shot 45-for-91 (49.5 percent) from the field overall on Tuesday.

“Listen, it’s going to even itself out one way or another,” said Fred VanVleet, who had 11 points and eight assists on Tuesday. “You never want to trend too far downward, but I thought the last couple of games we’ve been shooting the ball well, other than the Milwaukee game (a 104-101 overtime loss to the Bucks on Jan. 4). But just keep working the offense and try to create good shots, just more rhythm and energy to the offense and the way we’re sharing the ball now, you expect some of those to go down at a higher clip.”

Reserve Precious Achiuwa made a season-best three 3-pointers and scored 13 points. Toronto had a 40-18 advantage in bench scoring.

Pascal Siakam led Toronto with 28 points that included two 3-pointers. Gary Trent Jr. had four 3-pointers and 24 points.

Terry Rozier scored 33 points for Charlotte and LaMelo Ball added 24 points and a season-best 14 assists.

Charlotte shot 15-for-35 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and 47-for-86 (54.7 percent) from the field overall.

Toronto had the advantage in rebounding, 49-34 overall and 18-6 in offensive rebounds.

“You are not going to win on the road; you are not going to win at home playing like that,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

“Just (not) paying attention to details,” Rozier said. “It’s basically our story all year. … Down 10 with five minutes to go is a winnable ball game. And we are just not paying attention to details and we are not staying solid on the defensive end.”

The Hornets hope to respond in the rematch on Thursday.

“To me, I’ve kind of liked the schedule that the NBA is doing,” said Mason Plumlee, who had 21 points and seven rebounds on Tuesday. “It’s kind of a preview of the playoffs where you see the same team twice in a row, and it will give us a chance to show some growth, and some maturity and to respond.”

The Raptors are 18-23 at the halfway point of their season.

“It’s going to take some better individual play from a lot of guys,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

–Field Level Media