At least the Raptors can go into the All-Star break with a winning feeling after coming back from a 17-point deficit, while the Hornets continue to flounder.
Kyle Lowry broke a tie with a driving, floating bank shot and added the resulting free throw to give the Raptors a three-point lead with 1:41 to play in the game and the Raptors went on for a 90-85 victory on Wednesday night.
"We still have some work to do," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "Defensively we have to continue our pick-and-roll defense, our half-court man defense, all phases with everybody."
The Raptors did it the hard away. After being dominated in the third quarter, the Raptors took over, going on a 20-2 surge to open the final quarter and take a one-point lead.
""I think we played a lot like last year," Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said. "It's good. It's something that we can go to, Put Kyle (Lowry) off the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter and turn him more into a shooter. Catch, drive and not so much handle the ball and worry about him getting blitzed all the time. It was definitely beneficial."
Lowry scored 21 points in the victory that ended the Raptors' three-game losing streak. The Raptors (33-24) have won only five of the past 16 games. The Hornets (24-32) have lost four in a row and 11 of their past 12.
Norman Powell added 17 points for the Raptors, DeMarre Carroll recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds, Delon Wright scored 11 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and DeRozan scored 10.
"They basically committed to saying anyone but Kemba Walker," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "They put two on the ball, they got the ball out of his hands and we weren't able to take advantage of it.
"We're playing better defensively, which is where our problems actually started really about 30 games ago. We were really good defensively early in the year, and a lot of our offense was off our good defense. We've been better offensively but we've got to move the ball, and the ball has to be getting in the paint. We just weren't doing that."
The Raptors led by as many as 14 points during the first half and by three at halftime, but the Hornets took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter after a 34-14 third-quarter surge.
"I think it all had to do with energy," Kaminsky said. "We were playing defense, we were playing with energy on offense, we were executing and doing everything we needed to do and we just didn't do that in the fourth quarter."
"We weren't making shots," Casey said. "It is a make or miss league. DeMar DeRozan was vaulting up, (missing) some shots that he had made. Kyle (Lowry) was missing shots, we were just missing shots. I think we had some open looks, too. Not getting stops, missing shots and it takes you down to the defensive end, you relax a little bit and your defensive mojo is gone."
After the Raptors built a five-point lead with 3:45 to play in the fourth quarter comeback, Walker scored the Hornets' first field goal of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to three points.
Kaminsky's 3-pointer with 1:54 to play tied the game before Lowry hit the floating jumper and completed the three-point play, putting Toronto ahead for good.
Wright made a layup and Toronto led by five points.
Batum made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two, but Carroll's 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left returned the lead to five.
"We were trying to sustain our play, maintain our play," Walker said. "Unfortunately, they made a comeback of their own and made good shots down the stretch."
NOTES: Raptors F Serge Ibaka was not in the lineup Wednesday after being acquired Tuesday in a trade with the Orlando Magic for G/F Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick. "I'm just going to try and bring my experience, my energy, my toughness," Ibaka said when he met the media before the game. ... Raptors F Patrick Patterson (left knee contusion) missed his sixth consecutive game. ... The Hornets were without C Miles Plumlee (strained right calf), who was injured Monday, and C/F Cody Zeller (sore quadriceps), who missed his third straight game and the ninth in the past 10. ... Charlotte continues its seven-game road trip Feb. 23 against the Detroit Pistons. ...The Raptors return after the All-Star break Feb. 24 against the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre.