Hawks 107, Raptors 88
The Atlanta Hawks weren’t expected to make it back to the
playoffs after trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams last
It must feel good to silence the doubters.
Al Horford scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter,
Jeff Teague had 24 points and 13 assists and the Hawks clinched a
playoff berth for the sixth straight season, beating the Toronto
Raptors 107-88 on Wednesday night.
”I’m really proud of this bunch with what we accomplished
tonight,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. ”There were a lot of
people that counted us out at the start of the season and said we
wouldn’t be in this position. With all the changes that we made,
here we are.”
Teague was just as delighted.
”This is a group no one really gave a chance,” he said. ”For
us to come together and be in the playoffs this year, it’s a lot of
After being hired last June, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry
turned over the roster by dealing Johnson to Brooklyn and Williams
to Utah. Willie Green was sent to the Clippers, Jordan Farmar was
waived and Kirk Hinrich left as a free agent.
Atlanta’s success at weathering those changes means a lot to
”This team could have easily gone the other way,” he said.
”We haven’t had the perfect year, a lot of injuries. We’ve been up
and down as a team. I’m proud of the way we’ve been able to hang in
there and play through adversity. That’s been the biggest thing for
The Hawks still have a shot at earning home court advantage in
the first round. They entered play Wednesday tied with Chicago for
the fifth seed, just 2 1/2 games behind fourth-place Brooklyn.
”We just want to be in the best position that we can, whatever
that is,” Horford said.
Josh Smith scored 19 points for the Hawks, who used a 16-0 run
midway through the fourth to win for the 13th time in their last 15
meetings with the Raptors.
Horford had just six points in the first half but still reached
double digits for the 31st consecutive game, the second-longest
streak of his career. He did it in 33 straight games in
”He has really come into his own,” Drew said. ”He got off to
a little bit of a slow start but as the game went on he started
getting more and more into a rhythm. You could see in the second
half where he was really wanting the basketball so we were running
plays where we got him the ball. We were putting him positions
where he was picking and popping and he was knocking the shot
Raptors coach Dwane Casey had suggested his team might shut down
Rudy Gay after the star forward left Friday’s home loss to the
Knicks with a sore back, then sat out Saturday’s loss in New York.
Still sore, Gay started against the Hawks, scoring 15 points in 34
minutes and matching his season high with 12 rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points, DeMar DeRozan had 14,
Terrence Ross 13 and Alan Anderson 12 for the Raptors, who have
lost four straight and 11 of 14.
Toronto forward Amir Johnson left with 10:28 left in the third
with a left leg contusion. X-rays were negative but he did not
Toronto was outscored 55-29 after Johnson went down, leaving
Casey bemoaning his team’s lack of toughness.
”We didn’t respond when they got physical,” Casey said.
”We’re looking for calls, and they’re not calling them.”
The Raptors trailed 81-80 after Anderson’s 3-pointer with 9:11
left, but Horford scored six of the next eight points, four on jump
shots and two on a dunk, putting the Hawks up 89-80 with 7:26 to
Teague made back-to-back 3-pointers then added a driving jump
shot, giving the Hawks a 97-80 lead with 4:39 left.
DeRozan snapped Toronto’s 4:48 scoreless streak with a pair of
free throws, but Horford answered with a slam off an alley-oop from
Gay scored six in the first and DeRozan and Amir Johnson each
had five as the Raptors led 25-20 after one.
Ross scored nine points in the second and DeRozan had seven,
including a jump shot with less than two seconds left, giving the
Raptors a 54-44 lead at the half.
Atlanta took a 71-69 lead, its first since early in the second
quarter, on Smith’s 3 with 3:23 left in the third. Ross scored four
of Toronto’s next six points as the Raptors reclaimed the lead, but
a pair of free throws by Smith with 30 seconds left knotted the
score at 75-all heading to the fourth.
Atlanta’s Kyle Korver extended his streak of game with at least
one 3-pointer to 65. Korver’s streak is the fifth-longest in NBA
history. Reggie Miller (68 games) had the fourth-longest, while
Dana Barros tops the list with an 89-game streak.
NOTES: Hawks G Devin Harris missed his second straight game with
a sore left foot. … Toronto rookie F Quincy Acy was not available
because of a sore hamstring. … Toronto shot 5 for 20 in the
fourth quarter. … The Raptors made 20 turnovers, leading to 24
points for the Hawks.