By Steve Reed, The Associated Press on February 7, 2024.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – RJ Barrett scored 23 points, Jakob Poeltl had two big plays in the final minute and the Toronto Raptors overcame a career-high 45 points from Miles Bridges to beat Charlotte 123-117 and hand the Hornets their ninth straight loss on Wednesday night.
Scottie Barnes, who learned before the game he’ll play in his first All-Star game as an alternate, finished with 18 points for the Raptors. Immanuel Quickley also scored 18, and Poeltl finished had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Bridges had an efficient night, topping his previous career high of 41 points set Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers by shooting 17 of 27 from the field with six 3-pointers. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists.
Bridges is only the fourth Charlotte player to have back-to-back 40-point games, joining Glen Rice (twice), Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier.
Brandon Miller had 20 points for Charlotte, which has lost eight straight games at home.
It was only Toronto’s second win in the last 10 games.
The Hornets bolted to a 36-29 lead after the first quarter behind 15 points from Bridges, who was 5 of 5 from the field including three 3-pointers. Bridges was even better in the third quarter with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting, helping the Hornets carry a 97-91 lead into the final quarter.
But Toronto would battle back to take a 118-115 lead on a Barrett 3 from the corner and a driving layup by Quickley with two minutes left.
Poeltl, the Raptors 7-foot-1 center from Austria, then came up with big plays on both ends of the court, tipping in a miss to make it a five-point game and blocking Bridges in the lane on the other end of the court to give his team back the ball.
The Raptors made 17 of 33 3-point attempts, with Barrett and Gary Trent Jr. each connecting on four.
Raptors: Host the Rockets on Friday night.
Hornets: Visit the Bucks on Friday night.
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