Anderson leads Raps to blowout over ‘Cats

Anderson averaged a career-high 10.7 points last season for Toronto.
January 11, 2013, 9:35 PM

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO — Alan Anderson wasn’t surprised the Toronto Raptors beat a struggling team. What he didn’t know was who led them to the win.

"Any night could be anybody. I don’t know who it was tonight. But I mean any night it’s always somebody, it’s just fun to play like that. Open person knocks down a shot, whoever, we pass and find open man, hot hand, it’s just fun," said Anderson, before a reporter told him his 16 points were a team high.

"It was me? Good," he said to laughter.

Anderson was 4-for-9 from three-point range off the bench Friday against his former team as Toronto led from start to finish in a 99-78 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Jose Calderon had 15 points and six assists for Toronto (14-22), while Amir Johnson scored 13 points to go along with eight rebounds. Ed Davis added 12 points and eight boards of his own.

The 30-year-old Anderson has played for just two NBA teams in his career, breaking into the league as an undrafted free agent with Charlotte in 2005 before leaving after the 2006-07 season. The six-foot-six, 219-pound guard/forward spent the next six years playing in Europe, China and North America before joining Toronto last season.

Some athletes find motivation in beating their old teams. For Anderson, there was nothing special in his performance against the Bobcats.

"It feels (like) a long time. Because I’ve been (to) different countries, all different kinds of teams, D-League, it’s been a long time," he said.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker each had 12 points for the Bobcats (9-26), who also got 12 points from Ben Gordon off the bench.

Toronto entered the fourth quarter in little danger of giving up the lead after Anderson ended the third with a three-pointer for a 76-58 advantage. Kyle Lowry hit a three of his own with less than five minutes to play that gave the Raptors a 24-point lead, their biggest of the night, to put the game well out of reach in front of a crowd 14,373 at Air Canada Centre.

"We did not let up," said Toronto head coach Dwane Casey. "They kept on pushing. We went about our business. I liked our business-like approach in the second half. The hardest thing to do is to play with the lead. We are still digging out of a hole, but I like our guy’s effort. We are still in the middle of the process."

The Raptors opened the game with some hustle as Landry Fields slammed a running dunk to give Toronto a 10-2 lead, forcing Charlotte into a timeout after Toronto scored six points on the fast break.

The timeout didn’t do much good. DeRozan stole the ball off a bad pass from Walker, smiled and as he looked over his shoulder, and jammed it to give Toronto a 17-6 lead.

"It has kind of been our Achilles heel the last few games, not really getting off to good starts in the first quarter and first half in general," said Gordon. "That is something that has been biting us in our butt. We just have to figure that out. … We have to learn from this sooner or later."

The Raptors finished the first quarter up 29-16 on the strength of 10 points from Calderon, who had a nasty bump on his forehead after beating smacked by a Bobcat defender while hitting a three-pointer.

Toronto finished 12-for-27 from beyond the arc, while Charlotte was a dismal 3-for-12.

"Our defence was good tonight," said Calderon. "We knew what we had to do. It was a lot of one-on-one situations. We knew that and everybody was ready to help each other. We kind of built a wall there for everybody, so it was a great team effort."

In the second, Terrence Ross showed no lack of speed after missing one game with a sprained ankle. The rookie guard sped up the court for a dunk off an assist from Lowry for his first points of the night and then scored another two and added a three-pointer to give Toronto a 20-point lead.

The Bobcats chipped away as the game slowed down, with a floater by Gerald Henderson trimming the Raptors’ half-time lead to 53-39 before Toronto pulled away again in the third.

Injuries: Toronto has led wire-to-wire in its last three victories. … The Raptors were playing without Andrea Bargnani (elbow/wrist), Jonas Valanciunas (broken finger) and Linas Kleiza (sore right knee). Bargnani has missed 12 straight games. … Toronto wraps up a six-game homestand Sunday against Milwaukee.

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