The Toronto Raptors this season have only been able to impress. This year’s gritty Toronto team kept their home record at a perfect 5-0 as they absolutely gutted the Charlotte Hornets Monday night with a score of 132-96. With this dominant performance the Raptors improve to 9 wins on the season. Toronto currently ranks fourth in a surprisingly competitive Eastern Conference.

Total Control

The Hornets valiantly fought in the first half, keeping the score relatively competitive as the Raptors coasted during the first 24 minutes of play. Regardless of Charlotte’s efforts the Raptors held firm control over the first two periods etching out a four point lead going into the second half.

It was in the second half of the game that the Raptors showed their true claws. Toronto showcased their patented defensive ability. The Hornets were held to a paltry 18 points on 35% shooting while forcing 4 turnovers throughout the third quarter. On the offensive side OG Anunoby exploded for 16 of his game and career-high 24 points in the third. Charlotte was not prepared for the extremely versatile offence that Toronto utilized, showcased by the Raptors franchise-high 40 assists. The excellent ball movement produced six other double digit scorers for Toronto.

Rebounding Prowess

The Raptors matched their season-high in offensive rebounds Monday night as they battled for 16 boards on the offensive glass. This lead to 19 second chance points, outclassing their season average of 9.3.

Valuable Raptors

The Raptors bench pieces continued to show their value as long term assets. Undrafted rookie Terence Davis played with phenomenal relentlessness as he poured in a career high 16 points. His passing also contributed to the ball movement as he dished out 7 assists. Chris Boucher produced a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds with a career-high 7 offensive rebounds. Perhaps he took inspiration from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s hustle and effort on the glass as of late. Hollis-Jefferson, dubbed “Hustle Man” added 15 points and 8 rebounds in the winning effort.

The three aforementioned pieces have done an excellent job contributing within the flow of the offence. They are proving to be players that fit the tenacious playstyle that the Raptors have carried over from their championship run. It will be interesting to see how coach Nick Nurse incorporates them into the rotation when Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka return.

Attacking the Basket

The Raptors adjustments with two key pieces out have been impressive and despite the holes, Nick Nurse has proven his ability as a coach. Toronto has made it their mission to attack the basket while denying the opponent the same luxury and have done so relentlessly. The Hornets are the fifth consecutive team that the Raptors have dominated in lay-up opportunities. Toronto’s short-handed roster has stepped up and delivered during this time of adversity in spades.

The Raptors host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM/EST. The second meeting between these two teams is sure to be a defensive showcase.