Toronto Raptors

Five takeaways from the Toronto Raptors 21-point win over the Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker guards Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

The Raptors just keep on rolling.

After beginning the season with three wins over playoff teams, Toronto welcomed Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets to Scotiabank Arena Monday night. The Raptors never trailed and moved to 4-0 with a 21-point win.

With plenty of encouraging signs moving forward, here are five takeaways from Monday night's game…

Kawhi Leonard continues to shake off the rust

Coming into the season, there were plenty of concerns surrounding Kawhi and his ability to return to his peak form. As each game passes, Leonard is doing more and more with his play to put those concerns to rest.

After sitting out Saturday's win over the Wizards, a rested Kawhi delivered his most efficient performance of the season against the Hornets, scoring 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field and 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point range.

More encouraging than the numbers are the ways in which Leonard picked his spots on the offensive end - he remained patient and scored in a variety of ways. The transition 3-pointers Kawhi knocked down indicate that he is shaking some of the rust off from missing the majority of the 2017-18 season.

Leonard also dished out three assists, finding shooters in space after driving downhill. It appears that Leonard's play will only continue to get better as the season progresses.

Spreading the wealth

The Raptors entered the night 13th in the league in assists per game, averaging 22.0 assists in their first three contest. In the win over Charlotte, Toronto assisted on 36 of its 50 made field goals - a whopping 72 percent.

The equal opportunity offence played by the Raptors saw all 13 active players score and, more impressively, 12 of 13 active players record at least one assist.

Kyle Lowry led the way with 14 assists, followed by Fred VanVleet, who dished out four assists in under 19 minutes off the bench. While assisting on 72 percent of made field goals is a bit of a statistical outlier, unselfish play is infectious and can only mean good things moving forward - the Raptors were 41-8 when recording more assists than their opponent in 2017-18.

Transition offence is crucial

The difference in tonight's game proved to be fast break points. The potent transition offence is part of the reason Toronto's assist figures were so staggering.

Toronto scored 31 fast break points (on 12-for-17 shooting in transition) while Charlotte scored just five points. To take things a step further, seven of the Raptors' 12 transition buckets were 3-pointers; the team connected on 15 threes in Monday's win, meaning nearly half of the 3-pointers Toronto made were in transition.

The Raptors' shooting proficiency in the open floor did wonders for the team's half-court offence as well; the Hornets aggressive closeouts and coverages are part of the reason that Toronto was able to dominate on the inside, scoring 56 points in the paint.

Kemba Walker is on a historic pace

The Hornets All-Star guard's performance through four games is deserving of a section of its own.

Monday, Walker finished with a game-high 26 points on 11-for-22 shooting from the field; his two 3-pointers tonight brought his season total to 21, tying an NBA record through four games (Stephen Curry, 2015-16) .

Walker is averaging 33.0 points per game while making over five 3-pointers per contest at a 46.7 percent clip. While he may come back down to earth in some statistical respects, Walker has proven to be capable of consistently playing at a comprable level.

A historic season from Walker could propel a Hornets team that is on the fringe of playoff contention into the postseason.

The Danny Green factor

Danny Green is much more than just a trade add-on. Due to the nature of the blockbuster trade he was a part of, Green is sometimes relegated to being an afterthought;

Night after night, he continues to prove his worth on both ends of the floor.

It cannot be stated enough how much Green brings to this Raptors team - in 26 minutes of action Monday, he finished with 16 points while shooting 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. The 10-year veteran also grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots, including an impressive chasedown block in transition.

Green's abilities to stretch the floor with his shooting and make plays on the defensive end were on full display tonight; his spacing allowed him to be on the receiving end of a number of penetration kick outs that resulted in three points.

Most importantly, Green provides a sure veteran presence and championship experience that will become increasingly important for the season's stretch run.

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