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Leonard, Lowry carry Toronto Raptors to rout of Charlotte Hornets

Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) celebrates a basket against the Charlotte Hornets with teammate Kawhi Leonard (2) during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO  — Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, Kyle Lowry had 16 points and a season-high 14 assists, and Toronto never trailed in a 127-106 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night, the Raptors’ fourth straight win to open the season.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, Danny Green had 16, and Serge Ibaka added 15 as the Raptors won for the ninth time in 11 meetings with the Hornets.

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Toronto is the first NBA team to reach four wins. Denver (3-0) can match the Raptors when it hosts Sacramento on Tuesday.

Leonard returned after sitting out Saturday night’s road win over Washington, the second game of a back-to-back. The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year was limited to nine games last season because of a quadriceps injury.

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Kemba Walker scored 26 points and Jeremy Lamb had 16 as the Hornets dropped their first road game of the season. Charlotte won at Orlando on Friday and beat Miami on Saturday.

Nicolas Batum scored 13 points, Willy Hernangomez had 11 and Malik Monk added 10 for the Hornets.

Before the game, Walker was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging NBA-bests of 35.3 points and 6.3 3-pointers. Walker’s 19 3-pointers through the first three games set an NBA record.

Charlotte went 0 for 5 from 3-point range in the opening quarter, the first time in any quarter this season they’ve failed to make at least one basket from long range.

The Hornets entered having made an NBA-best 49 3-pointers through their first three games, but struggled from long range against the Raptors. Charlotte finished 9 for 28 from beyond the arc.

The Raptors, meanwhile, made a season-best 15 3-pointers. Toronto’s 39 attempts was the team’s most in a game, so far.

Toronto also recorded a season-high in assists, with 36 on 50 made baskets. The Raptors had 24 assists in Friday’s win over Boston.

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TIP INS

Hornets: Walker won Player of the Week for the sixth time, breaking the franchise record he had shared with Gerald Wallace. … Walker had five rebounds and five assists. … Assistant coach Jay Triano is a former Raptors head coach and the head coach of the Canadian men’s basketball team.

Raptors: G Delon Wright (left thigh) missed his fourth straight game, but is expected to return Wednesday. … Toronto outscored Charlotte 31-5 in fast break points. … Valanciunas led Toronto with 10 rebounds. … Leonard failed to get a double-double for the first time in three games.

UP NEXT

Hornets: At Chicago on Wednesday night.

Raptors: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night.

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TAGS: Basketball, Charlotte Hornets, NBA, Sports, Toronto Raptors
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