Raptors hit the road, visit Charlotte

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will play the next three games on the road, starting with Friday's matchup with the Charlotte Hornets.

The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors will also visit Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and are 17-12 outside Air Canada Centre this season.

Toronto hasn't played sharp basketball of late with six losses in the last seven tries and is coming off Wednesday's 120-112 setback to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. James posted 29 points and 14 assists.

"Toronto is a very good basketball team," said Cavs coach David Blatt. "They didn't quit, nor did we expect them to."

Jonas Valanciunas shot 12-for-17 from the floor for 26 points, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 and Lou Williams outscored Cleveland's bench by himself, 26-18.

"I'm not very emotional when I play. That's just how I'm wired up," said Williams.

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (rest) sat out his third straight game and is listed as questionable Friday.

Toronto is third in the conference standings, while Charlotte is clinging to the eighth and final postseason berth.

The Hornets will shoot for a fourth straight win Friday and handed the Brooklyn Nets a 115-91 loss Wednesday at Barclays Center. Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson scored 19 points apiece and Marvin Williams had 18.

Charlotte led 35-15 after one after shooting 65.2 percent and limiting the Nets to 30 percent.

"We knew starting the first quarter was going to be a big key for us, and we started off hitting a lot of open shots," Jefferson said.

Mo Williams contributed 14 points and 14 assists and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Charlotte will visit Detroit next on Sunday and defeated Toronto, 103-95, on Jan. 8 north of the border. The two teams will meet again April 8 and 15.

The Raptors are winless in the last five games in this series.