Kevin Willis missed the whole game and Vince Carter missed most of it, yet the Toronto Raptors still managed to beat the Charlotte Hornets.
Carter, who had only three points in 18 minutes, sprained his left thumb with 7:35 remaining in the third quarter. He sat out most of the final quarter, but expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday.
"I can't let the team down. If it's not broken, I can play," Carter said. "I hurt it early in training camp (too), so I know how to play with it."
The Raptors,were also missing Willis, who didn't dress after suffering a sprained left shoulder Saturday in Atlanta.
Elden Campbell, Eddie Jones, and David Wesley all had 13 points for Charlotte while Chucky Brown (13 points) and Ricky Davis (12) came off the bench to set individual seasohighs. Derrick Coleman had nine boards for the Hornets.
"It's going to take some time for these guys to come together," said interim coach Paul Silas, who took over March 8 and then saw his team gutted two days later in a big swap with the Lakers. "It'll take Elden Campbell and Eddie Jones a little while (and) this is Derrick Coleman's second game back after about two weeks."
After the Raptors blew a 13-point lead by shooting 3-for-25 in the third quarter, Brown led a fourth quarter surge to give Toronto its seventh win of the season.
Dee Brown was 3-for-7 from the 3-point line and made three key free throws with 1:36 left that gave the Raptors a 83-81 lead.
"It shows how much better we are when Dee can come off the bench like that," said Raptors coach Butch Carter.
"Toronto goes out and plays hard," Coleman said. "We couldn't execute in the end."
Charlotte is now 2-3 under new coach Paul Silas. The Raptors face another new coach Tuesday night when they host the New Jersey Nets, who fired John Calipari on Monday.
Notes: Jones fouled out with 9.5 seconds remaining...The Hornets finished a four-game, six-day road trip with a 1-3 record... The Raptors began a stretch of 10 games in 14 days, including their first back-to-back-to-back games...Derrick Coleman, who is still recovering from a sprained right foot, started but struggled from the floor (2-for-11)...Center John Thomas made his first start of the season in place of Willis...In their previous meeting March 1 in Charlotte, the Hornets won 91-88.
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