Raptors move closer to securing spot in play-in tournament

Pascal Siakam scores 36 points, Fred VanVleet adds 20 points and has a career-high 20 assists as the Toronto Raptors beat the understaffed Charlotte Hornets 128-108 on Sunday to qualify for the NBA Play-In Tournament Little by little I got closer to winning the rights.

OG Anunoby added 23 points to the Raptors, giving them a spot if the Brooklyn Nets beat the Utah Jazz later on Sunday.

Svi Mykhailiuk scored a career-high 26 points, Mark Williams added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and the Hornets were riddled with injuries as they played without all five of the team’s expected starters this season. James Bookknight scored 21 points and Theo Maledon provided 14 assists.

The Raptors defeated the Hornets, 90-44, in the opening game of the two-game series. The team will meet again in Charlotte on Tuesday night.

The Raptors (39-39) finished eighth in the Eastern Conference alongside the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. The team finishing eighth only needs one win for him. The 9th-place team needs two to reach the postseason as the 8th seed.

The Raptors had the upper hand from the start.

VanVleet made his impact felt early on, scoring 11 points and assisting six other baskets in the first quarter as Toronto built a 35-25 lead.

The Hornets (26-53) had nine turnovers in the first half and the Raptors scored 18 points. The highlight was Scotty Barnes scoring a steal and cutting Precious He gave Achiuwa an alley-oop his lob and scored a quick dunk.

Charlotte cut Toronto’s 18-point lead to 10 after JT Toll knocked down corner three, but Siakam helped the Raptors push the lead back to 16 safely with eight points.

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Raptors: Changed 18 Charlotte turnovers to 28 points. … the bench were overwhelmed by him 40-21.

Hornets: Many key players were missing, including all three point guards of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Dennis Smith Jr., Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington and Cody Martin. … Bouknight now has 11 of his 3-pointers in the last two games.

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