It’s too bad the fans don’t get pizza for the opponent scoring over 100 points because this was a tough game to sit through. The Toronto Raptors were embarrassed on their home court losing 110-89 against the Eastern conference leading Atlanta Hawks. With the win, the Hawks extend their league leading winning streak to 11 games. DeMar DeRozan was the lone Raptor able to produce anything positive for the entirety of the game finishing with 25 points. Apart from DeRozan it appeared that only James Johnson came ready to play. Mike Budenholzer has the Hawks playing some extremely disciplined basketball as he quickly rises up the ranks as one of the NBAs best coaches. Al Horford brought his hard hat, his lunch pail and a newspaper as he got a comfortable 22 points on 8/8 shooting. The Raptors definitely have some work to do as the second half of the season approaches. If there was a team that needed this All star break to come, it’s the Toronto Raptors.
One would assume that the return of DeMar DeRozan would slightly throw off the Raptors offensive rhythm as he readjusts. However – DeRozan was not the problem. The Raptors offence struggled because they neglected to take care of the ball and made countless unforced turnovers. It didn’t help that Atlanta played sound defence or that the Raptors turned into a one-on-one isolation ball club. The Raptors looked flat all night, and it showed up on the stat sheet with them finishing the contest shooting 42.7% from the field. Minus DeRozan the starters combined for only 28 points, which isn’t gonna cut it. Watching these two teams play on the offensive end displays startling contrast between a team that plays inside-out versus one that plays outside-in.
The Raptors allowed Atlanta to shoot 60.9% – not for a quarter, but for the game. Toronto gave up 30 assists to Atlanta while letting them drop 12 three-pointers on over 50% shooting. There was absolutely no resistance on the defensive end from anyone in a purple jersey tonight. Dwane Casey and his team need to do some serious soul searching before their next tilt against the New Orleans Pelicans.
When the Hawks shoot 60% from the field it drastically limits the amount of available defensive rebounds for the Raptors. Toronto had the edge on the glass 35-32, but it’s irrelevant as this game was lost on the defensive end.
Game Ball: Al Horford
Tonight the game ball goes to Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford. After being in and out of the line-up due to injuries it seems as if he’s regained his All-star form putting in work against the Raptor bigs. Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson just didn’t have an answer for the talented Horford who finished with a line of 22 pts 5rebs & a blocked shot.
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