You can call it a game of two halves. The Toronto Raptors came out very strong in the first half but fell flat in the second, specifically in the fourth quarter where they scored only 13 points vs. the Atlanta Hawks‘ 32. Raptors fans have had to endure games like this all year.
Amir Johnson left the game in the third quarter with a left leg contusion and ultimately only played 20 minutes. Luckily, the x-rays came back negative.
Kyle Lowry did the best he could, trying to create for his teammates as much as possible. Lowry finished with ten assists (vs. only three turnovers) and was looking to feed his team all night. Jonas Valanciunas led the way for the Raptors with 19 points. It was great to see the rookie bigman take it to perennial all-star Al Horford of the Hawks.
As great as Lowry was, there is no way a team can win when they have 19 turnovers as a team and only force 11 themselves. This should be unacceptable basketball.
The Hawks’ big three (Horford, Josh Smith, and Jeff Teague) pretty much dominated this game all night. They finished with a combined 69 points 19 rebounds, and 15 assists. The Raptors tried different looks all night but simply did not have an answer for these three. You know you are doing poor defensively when Smith (who plays primarily inside) hits two three-point shots. The Hawks shots 49% from the field and 47% from three-point range. Ouch.
The Raptors rebounded solidly throughout the game. Rudy Gay led the way with 12 rebounds while Valanciunas chipped in with eight himself (three offensive). Lowry played his usual pitbull self and had seven boards as well. All in all, rebounding was the one good thing the Raptors did all game.
Game Ball: Jeff Teague
Has this guy improved over the last few years or what? Teague finished with 24 points and 13 assists, pretty much controlling the flow of the game the whole time. Lowry (who is an excellent defender in his own rite) just couldn’t do anything to slow him down. The Hawks won because of Teague.
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