The Toronto Raptors were hot from 3-pointrange in the second half against the New Orleans Hornets on Fridaynight. All they wanted to talk about, though, was their blue-collardefense.
After giving up 115 points to Memphis and 125 to Orlando inrecent losses, the Raptors held the Hornets to 14 points in thethird quarter in a 107-90 victory.
Chris Bosh scored 27 points for the Raptors, who used a 27-4 runin the third quarter to take control and improve to 3-0 whenholding opponents under 100 points.
The Raptors trailed 56-51 early in the third quarter beforehitting a barrage of open 3-pointers to put the game away. Boshs 3gave them the lead for good, 57-56, and Hedo Turkoglu and AndreaBargnani both hit three 3s in the next 7 minutes as Toronto wentahead 81-63.
"It really started on defense," Turkoglu said. "We got stopsand rebounds. Weve been great offensively since they built theteam, but we were helping each other on defense tonight."
Turkoglu and Jose Calderon both had 16 points for Toronto, whileBargnani added 14.
Chris Paul led New Orleans with 21 points and a season-high 18assists, but he did not score in the third quarter, when theRaptors hit more 3-pointers (8) than the Hornets had field goals(6).
"Our focus tonight was on Chris Paul," Toronto coach JayTriano said. "Any time he gave it up for the most part our guyshad a hand in his face. He had to work for everything he got."
Bobby Brown added 16 points and David West had 14 for NewOrleans.
The Hornets (2-4), who are below .500 after six games for thefirst time since 2005-06, trailed 83-65 at the end of the thirdquarter and heard some boos as they walked to the bench.
The Hornets started the second half with a 3-pointer from MorrisPeterson and a dunk by Emeka Okafor to go ahead 56-51, but it wasall downhill from there.
Bosh hit all nine of his shots, mostly from inside, and theRaptors were almost as proficient from the 3-point line in thesecond half. After connecting on only 3 of 11 3s in the first half,they made 11 of 18 after the break. Their eight 3s in the thirdwere a franchise record for any quarter.
"Out of the eight 3-pointers made, I saw us contend two,"Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I saw a lack of energy. For thelife of me, I cant understand why we came out without anyenergy."
Toronto led 83-65 after its 34-point third quarter and stretchedthe lead to 98-73 as the Hornets never made a run. Midway throughthe fourth quarter, the New Orleans Arena was more than half-empty.
"We are feeling more comfortable with each other each game,"said Turkoglu, in his first year with the Raptors after helpingOrlando reach the NBA finals last season. "We know where everybodywants to get the ball."
Neither team led by more than seven points before Torontosdecisive spurt.
The first half was the "Paul and Bosh Show" as two of theNBAs five leading scorers went back and forth. Paul hit 6 of 8shots, scored 17 points and had 10 assists. Bosh went 5 for 5 fromthe field and 6 of 7 from the line, leading Toronto with 16 points.
Paul scored seven points in less than 2 minutes as the Hornetswent ahead 33-26. Bosh responded with eight quick points to givethe Raptors a 46-43 lead.
The second half was a different story.
With the threat of Bosh inside, the Hornets repeatedly failed toclose out on the Raptors 3-point shooters. Bargnani had agame-high nine rebounds, but the Hornets did not have much chanceto grab defensive rebounds as shot after shot fell for the Raptorsin the second half.
"Bosh got rolling, and we didnt do a good job of guarding as ateam," West said. "They move the ball and really make you defendthem."
The Hornets played their first game after learning that ownerGeorge Shinn had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Hornetsannounced that Shinn would miss their games for the next few weekswhile undergoing further tests and focusing on recovery.
NOTES: Toronto began a 2-week stretch where seven of eight gamesare on the road. ... The Raptors snapped a three-game losing streakto the Hornets. Hornets rookie Marcus Thornton, activated for thefirst time, scored his first NBA points in the final minute. ...Paul, a career 34.4 percent 3-point shooter entering the season,improved to 13 of 16 when he hit his first 3 on Friday. He missedhis next two.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times