Valanciunas to start as Raps face Hornets
(Sports Network) - The New Orleans Hornets shoot for just their second three- game winning streak of the season when they resume a three-game road trip Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.
The Hornets haven't won three straight since a four-game run from Jan. 5-11 and opened the road swing with Friday's 111-100 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Greivis Vasquez recorded the first triple-double of his career, posting 21 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.
"To see him take command of the game like that says a lot about him," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said of Vasquez. "That kid is probably the toughest guy I've been around."
Eric Gordon pumped in a game-high 27 points, while Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, for the Hornets, who have won two straight since a four-game slide and halted a four-game road losing streak.
Gordon has reached double figures in scoring in 12 of 16 games since returning from injury and the Hornets are 8-6 when he starts.
New Orleans will also visit Detroit and is 9-18 outside the Big Easy.
The Raptors are in the thick of playing five of six games north of the border and recorded a tough 100-98 overtime victory at Indiana Friday.
Raptors newcomer Rudy Gay buried a go-ahead jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining in the extra session to halt the Pacers' 15-game home winning streak. Gay finished with 23 points and DeMar DeRozan had 22 to help Toronto, which ended a two-game slide and has split its first four games in February.
"In the end, our guys hung in there," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "No one said this process was going to be easy."
Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting in his second game back after missing 26 straight outings with an elbow injury. He posted 13 points in a loss to Boston on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Gay is the first Raptor to score 20-plus points in his first four games. The last Raptor to record five straight games with 20 or more points was Bargnani and Vince Carter did it in a team-record 23 games in a row.
The Raptors are scheduled to host Denver on Tuesday and own a 12-13 mark at Air Canada Centre. In injury news for Toronto, forward Landry Fields (back) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Toronto won the first meeting with New Orleans, 104-97, in overtime on Dec. 28 this season on the banks of the Mississippi River and has prevailed in three straight and five of the past six matchups between the teams.