Kemba Walker couldn’t shoot, and that usually means the Hornets can’t win. Not against a team as talented as the Toronto Raptors (52-25) at least: Walker shot just 4-of-16 and the Raptors beat Charlotte 96-90. Charlotte is playing a tough pre-playoff road stretch against strong teams. The Toronto loss follows a loss in Cleveland on Sunday, the first back-to-back losses for the Hornets since January. Positives for the Hornets included another good performance by Jeremy Lin, who scored 21 points in 40 minutes of play.
The difference for Lin this time is he didn’t come of the bench. Head coach Steve Clifford started a small ball lineup that moved Courtney Lee to small forward, with Lin starting in the backcourt with Walker. In a sign of what Charlotte might do more often in the playoffs, Lin, Lee and Walker all played 35-plus minutes. Lin got to the line eight times (7-of-8) and went 4-of-6 from three. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 26 points, making 11-of-12 free throws.