Before the season even began, C.J. Miles admitted he and his teammates boasted about just how good his Toronto Raptors’ bench might be.
“We’ve been saying we’re the best bench in the league since Day One,” he said. “And if it wasn’t true then, it’s got to be true now.”
Miles led the charge of Toronto reserves Sunday as he scored 24 points while starter DeMar DeRozan had 25 points and eight assists as the Raptors routed the Charlotte Hornets 123-103.
Six players scored in double figures for the Raptors, who won their fifth straight game and improved to 39-16. Raptors coach Dwane Casey earned his 300th victory as head coach of the team.
Miles shot 6-of-9 from 3-point range as Toronto sank 48.6 per cent from long-distance overall.
He led a charge of Raptors reserves who outscored the Hornets’ bench players 55-46.
“They’re phenomenal,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “Our young guys are phenomenal and we really need them. We love continuing to see them grow. They’re growing and playing well and it makes it unbelievable.”
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It was the starters who helped Toronto pull away in the third quarter. Jonas Valanciunas, who finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, scored 10 during an 18-2 run that began the second half. Charlotte shot just 1-for-12 in that span.
” We just got a good chemistry,” Miles said. We don’t care who scores, who shoots. We just want to get the shots that guys are supposed to take.
Kemba Walker had 23 points and nine assists as the Hornets lost their fourth in a row. Dwight Howard added 17 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte.
Despite returning Saturday from a West Coast trip featuring four games in six days, the Hornets jumped out to a 10-0 start behind six points and an assist from Walker. Toronto responded with a 12-4 run, with four points and a rebound from DeRozan.
Fred VanVleet added 10 points and four assists off the bench for Toronto.
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The Hornets’ weary legs showed in the end, as they shot 42.7 per cent for the game. The Raptors made 56.3 per cent.
“Sometimes they say the schedule can catch up with you,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “It’s not the whole reason we lost, but this last stretch has been a lot of travelling and you can see it.”
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter gave the Raptors their first lead, which they did not relinquish.
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