DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points, Kyle Lowry had 12 of his 21 in the fourth quarter and the Toronto Raptors beat Charlotte 96-90 on Tuesday night, handing the Hornets back-to-back losses for the first time in more than two months.
Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Corey Joseph added 11 points, including two key free throws in the closing seconds, as the Raptors won for the third time in four games.
Charlotte, which lost at Cleveland on Sunday, had not lost consecutive games since defeats at Utah and Portland on Jan. 27 and 29. The Hornets had won 22 of 29 since.
Jeremy Lin matched a season best with four 3-pointers and scored 21 points for Charlotte, while Marvin Williams had 15.
All-Star guards DeRozan and Lowry returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Saturday’s loss at San Antonio.
Charlotte’s Al Jefferson (right knee) returned after missing Sunday’s game. He came off the bench and finished with five points and matched a season high with 11 rebounds.
Hornets guard Kemba Walker missed 12 of his 16 field goal attempts and finished with 11 points.
DeRozan connected on 11 of 12 free throw attempts. The Raptors are 15-4 when he makes at least 10 free throws.
Toronto led 75-59 to begin the fourth but Charlotte used a 7-0 spurt to cut the gap to nine.
Joseph stopped the run with a driving hook shoot and Lowry added floater in the lane to restore Toronto’s double-digit cushion, making it 79-66 with 7:01 remaining.
A 3 by Williams brought Charlotte within six with just over a minute left, but DeRozan answered with a basket.
Walker scored twice while getting fouled in the final minute, but Joseph kept Toronto’s lead safe by making a pair of free throws with 6.1 seconds left.
DeRozan had eight points and three assists in the first and Toronto closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to lead 26-16 after one.
The Raptors missed their first eight attempts from 3-point range before DeRozan and Lowry connected on back-to-back shots late in the second to put Toronto up 49-37. DeRozan’s jumper with less than a second to go gave Toronto a 56-42 lead at the half.
Hornets: Lin started in place of Nicolas Batum (left knee). Batum left Sunday’s game after spraining his knee in the first quarter.
Raptors: Valanciunas recorded his team-leading 21st double-double. The Raptors are 16-5 in those games. … Toronto has won three straight home meetings with the Hornets. … Rapper Drake, the team’s global ambassador, watched from his seats near center court. Former Blue Jays second baseman and baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar also attended the game
Hornets: At New York on Wednesday. Raptors: At Atlanta on Thursday.