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Toronto Raptors

OG Anunoby notches career-high as Toronto Raptors use big second half to cruise past Hornets

The Toronto Raptors (9-4) used a big second half to earn their biggest win of the season, defeating the Charlotte Hornets (6-8) 132-96.

After going into the halftime break with just a six-point lead, Toronto outscored Charlotte 72-40 in the second half to put the game well out of reach. It was a career-high 24 points from OG Anunoby that paced the Raptors, who saw seven different players finish in double figures, a product of stellar ball movement.

How stellar? The team dished out a franchise-record 40 assists.

For more on how the Raptors got it done, here are a few takeaways from their blowout win:

Home, sweet home

After a five-game road trip out West, the Raptors returned to the confines of Scotiabank Arena, where they have proven to have the ultimate home court advantage.

With the win, Toronto advances to 5-0 at home on the season and stands as one of the four remaining undefeated teams at home in the 2019-20 season (Boston, Miami and Philadelphia).

Dating back to the 2017-18 season, the Raptors are now 71-16 (.816) at home in the regular season.

Good teams handle business against inferior opponents and take care of home court - two things that bode well for the Raptors moving forward, as they continue to do an exemplary job of both.

After playing eight of its first 12 games on the road, tonight's game is the first of a stretch in which Toronto will play seven of nine games at Scotiabank Arena.

Continued success in front of the home crowd will be a key to the Raptors remaining among the top half of the East's standings.

A career game for OG

His day ended early after catching an inadvertent elbow to the eye (an injury he could have returned from), but OG Anunoby showed flashes of brilliance on Tuesday.

After scoring just eight points in his first game back from injury, Anunoby appeared to have his swagger back against the Hornets as the 22-year-old turned in one of the best performances of his young career.

In just 27 minutes of action, Anunoby notched a career-high 24 points while shooting 10-for-13 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Even more impressive? All four of his triples came in the third quarter.

Anunoby scored 16 points in the third frame alone, connecting on six of his seven field-goal attempts, with the one miss being from beyond the arc. The third-year forward looks to be making strides in his game as he not only hit catch-and-shoot 3s but knocked down perimeter jumpers off of the dribble as well.

Sustained success from the perimeter from Anunoby only makes this offence scarier, as he can spread the floor with his ability to knock down shots in different situations.

Spreading the wealth

Toronto entered the game averaging 24.3 assists per game, a figure good for 18th in the league.

In the win over the Hornets, the Raptors' offence was a well-oiled machine, as their ball movement led to them dishing out a franchise-record 40 assists in the game.

That's a lot of dimes.

Marc Gasol led the way with nine assists and was one of five different Raptors to dish out at least five assists. Fred VanVleet finished the contest with eight helpers and Terence Davis recorded seven assists off the bench while Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam dished out six and five assists, respectively.

Who was the beneficiary? The entire team, of course.

Throughout the game, the team passed up 'good' shots for 'great' shots, ultimately leading to its shooting 50-for-97 (51.5%) from the field and 20-for-43 (46.5%) from beyond the arc - Toronto's 20 made 3-pointers are a season-high.

While they won't dish out 40, or even 35-plus assists with regularity, tonight serves as a reminder that this team is at its absolute best when the ball is moving with fluidity as it makes for high-percentage shots.

Dominating the glass

Rebounding has been a point of contention for the Raptors early on this season.

It's becoming clearer and clearer that the way Toronto performs on the glass is a harbinger of the team's success or lack thereof.

After being outrebounded in Saturday's loss to the Mavericks, the Raptors put forth a dominant performance Tuesday, outrebounding the Hornets 53-37. It's no coincidence that the team's biggest win of the young season comes on the game in which it had the biggest rebound difference on the year.

Toronto moves to a perfect 6-0 when rebounding its opponent this season and is just 3-4 when it is outrebounded.

Chris Boucher led the way for the Raptors with a game-high 11 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end to extend possessions. Marc Gasol, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Pascal Siakam each grabbed eight rebounds apiece and combined to grab seven offensive rebounds of their own.

In extending possessions, Toronto took 19 more shots than Charlotte in the game. The Raptors' 16 offensive rebounds led to 19 second chance points in the game while the Hornets scored just eight on nine offensive boards.

Punishing teams on the glass is another thing that good teams do. Activity, hustle and effort are keys to the Raptors reaching their full potential.

What's next

The Raptors are back in action Thursday as they play host to the Orlando Magic for the second time this season.

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