Horford scores 22, Hawks beat Raptors to extend winning streak
After giving some starters the night off in games earlier this week, Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t rest anyone for Friday’s game against the Raptors.
None of them had to work too hard in the fourth quarter, however.
Al Horford scored 22 points, Paul Millsap had 16 and the Hawks extended their winning streak to 11 games, beating Toronto 110-89.
"I feel like we have very good rhythm right now," Horford said. "I feel like all the pieces are starting to come together, we’re starting to figure each other out and how to play together. That’s why (we’re having) the success."
The Hawks have won 25 of 27 and improved the Eastern Conference’s best record to 32-8.
"That team is a well-oiled machine," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said of the Hawks.
Atlanta, which made 12 of 23 3-point attempts, is unbeaten since a 107-77 blowout loss to Milwaukee on Dec. 26. The Hawks extended their franchise-record road winning streak to 11 games and are 15-1 on the road since starting 1-4.
Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll each scored 13 points and Kyle Korver had 11 for the Hawks, who matched their longest winning streak since posting 11 consecutive victories to begin the 1997-98 season.
"We’re just in a good groove," Teague said. "Guys want to win and we’re trying to win every game."
Atlanta has not lost away from home since a 100-99 loss at Orlando on Dec. 13.
"We don’t play any different on the road than we do at home," Budenholzer said.
Budenholzer rested Carroll and Millsap in Tuesday’s win at Philadelphia, then gave Horford and Korver the night off at Boston the following night.
Everyone was back to face Toronto, which beat Atlanta twice in the first 13 games of the season, including an opening-night victory in Toronto. Atlanta has gone 25-2 since a 126-115 home loss to the Raptors on Nov. 26.
"We have good ball movement, our defense is getting better," Horford said. "It’s a big difference from November until now."
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and James Johnson had 17 for the slumping Raptors, who lost for the sixth time in eight games.
"That game was not us," Casey said. "We didn’t come out and put our best game on the court."
The Raptors closed their locker room for a team meeting following the game, and Johnson said the players may have let a strong start to the season go to their heads.
"We just started to get a little overconfident," Johnson said.
Kyle Lowry scored 11 for Toronto, who allowed 24 points on 19 turnovers. The Raptors have made 55 turnovers in their past three games.
Many in the sellout crowd of 19,800 headed for the exits after Millsap’s layup put Atlanta up 102-76 with 5:45 left in the final quarter. Korver and Horford were already done for the night by then. Carroll, Millsap and Teague joined then on the bench with 5:27 remaining.
Atlanta led 24-19 after one, with 11 points coming off seven Toronto turnovers. Millsap scored seven in the first and Horford had six for the Hawks.
Carroll scored five points and Teague had four as Atlanta closed the second on an 11-2 run to lead 52-38 at halftime.
"That second quarter was a good finish," Budenholzer said.
Korver and Carroll both made a pair of 3-pointers in the third and the Hawks went 7 for 9 from beyond the arc to take an 85-68 lead into the fourth.
Atlanta shot 60.9 percent, connecting on 42 of 69 field goal attempts. It’s the second time this season the Hawks have shot 60 percent or better. They shot 64.5 percent in a Dec. 17 win at Cleveland, beating the Cavaliers 127-98.
Newly acquired Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore and Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista attended the game.
Hawks: Atlanta is 27-1 when leading by 10 or more at any point in a game. … The Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak against Toronto. … Atlanta is 14-0 when scoring 20 or more points off turnovers.
Raptors: The 14-point deficit at halftime was Toronto’s biggest at home this season. … Toronto’s 89 points were their fewest this season. The last time they were held below 90 was March 31, 2014, at Miami. … Former Raptors guard Muggsy Bogues attended the game.
Hawks: Visit Chicago on Saturday night.
Raptors: Host New Orleans on Sunday afternoon.