The Toronto Raptors narrowly escaped the clutches of the Atlanta Hawks winning 104-96. This was a good gear shifting game against some solid competition as the team prepares for the playoffs.The Raps held the hawks to under 100 points which is a positive sign for the direction of the defence moving forward. DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 30 huge points and Luis Scola tied a season in rebounds with 12 in his return. The Raptors record against teams above .500 increases to 20-11 as they inch closer to the Cleveland Cavaliers who sit atop the East by only 2 games.
Torontos next game is on Saturday; another home affair where they take on Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Cage’s Report Card:
The offence for the raptors was focused tonight. They made a concentrated effort to get to the rim and it paid off with their 29 appearances at the free throw line. Everyone clearly read the scouting report on Kyle Korver, because Terrence Ross had no problems having his way with him. It may not have translated into buckets every moment, but whoever he was matched with had a blow-by opportunity on nearly every possession and it showed. Korver looked like the most scored on player tonight for the Hawks. In what was largely a chippy game, the Raptors shot just 46% from the field on their way to 104 points and pizza for their home crowd.
Solid effort overall on the defensive end for the Raptors. They held a very good ball club in the hawks to under 45% shooting while holding their opponent under the century mark. Work still needs to be done however as the team committed a lot of petty fouls allowing Atlanta to get in the bonus early and monumentally decrease the pace of play.
The Raptors by no means played a pretty game of basketball against the Hawks this evening. It came down to a lot of loose scrambles and 50-50 balls. With shots not falling for either team, the Raptors dominated the glass 48-33 while going +5 on the offensive glass. Bismack Biyombo once again brought terrific energy pulling in 9 boards off the bench. The starting front-court of Scola and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 22 rebounds of their own.
Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan
This is a no-brainer. DeMar DeRozan drove the Raps to victory with most players having an off night offensively. DeMar finished with 30 points and 5 rebounds on 11/20 shooting. His attack first mentality in the first half helped dictate the style in which the Raptors needed to play to win the game.