Rough Night: Raptors Roll Hawks





Oh Brother! Long time voice of the Atlanta Hawks Steve Holman, who has witnessed over 2,500 Hawks games, is known to utter this phrase from time to time during not so fantastic periods of Atlanta Hawks basketball.  Well if any game fits the description of this phrase, also made famous by the popular Charlie Brown character, it would be the Hawks matchup with the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.  Reserve Norman Powell (17 points) led 7 Raptors in double figures as Toronto thrashed an Atlanta Hawks team playing its 3rd game in 4 days: 112-78.  Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 14 points but only collected 1 assist as the Hawks looked much different from the night before when they came back from 17 down to defeat the New York Knicks.

Tonight’s Hawks team seemed out of sync from the start.  Uncharacteristic turnovers and several key missed assignments defensively allowed the visitors from north of the border to operate without resistance for much of the night.  Serge Ibaka found his stroke early on with 6 first quarter points while taking advantage of faulty Atlanta closeouts on the perimeter. Atlanta’s early response came from its trigger man, Schroder, who was able to find creases in the Toronto defense to attack the paint. Veteran Marco Belinelli also chimed in with 8 first quarter points to keep the Hawks close early. Both teams traded punches in the first quarter with Toronto finishing the quarter with a 3-point advantage.  Unfortunately for Atlanta, that was where the good news would end for the night.  Toronto opened up the 2nd period with a 31-5 run punctuated by 13 points from Powell (3-3 from three-point range) and the rout was on.  Atlanta Coach, Mike Budenholzer, burned 2 timeouts early in the 2nd period and was visibly frustrated with Atlanta’s defensive execution. Budenholzer’s efforts were futile as Toronto made Atlanta pay for every mistake defensively and connected on 7 of 10 3-point baskets in the 2nd quarter alone.  By contrast, the Hawks were 2 of 8 over the same span.  Before long, what seemed like an opportunity for the Hawks to build on a huge win the night before wound up more closely resembling a blowout as the Raptors lead swelled to 28 points at the half: 67-39.

Toronto’s 2nd half lead continued to increase to as large as 45 points forcing many of the Hawks fans towards the exits earlier than originally planned. To Atlanta’s credit, Budenholzer’s squad continued to compete as much as possible but it was fairly evident from the start that this would not be a great night for the Hawks.  Although both teams had drastically different views concerning the outcome of the game, both teams were able to use this contest to get extra work in for many of the reserves.  The traditional Raptor duo of All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan only logged 27 mins each in the win as every member of the Raptors entered the scoring column.  Despite the limited playing time, Lowry contributed 15 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists and Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 16 points and 8 rebounds to send the Raptors to their 12th win of the season.  Belinelli and Taurean Prince (10 points each) were the only other Hawks players in double figures as Atlanta dropped their 16th game in 20 tries.  Atlanta entertains some much-needed rest over the next couple of days before turning the page on this performance.  To a man, the team understands that better focus and execution will be needed to avoid a similar fate.



Up Next:


Atlanta Hawks v. Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Philips Arena; Atlanta, GA.


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