Raptors 113, Hawks 96
The Atlanta Hawks want to be well-rested for the playoffs.
They certainly didn’t use up any energy Tuesday night.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Rudy Gay added 22 and the
Toronto Raptors ran all over the playoff-bound Hawks, 113-96.
The Raptors made two-thirds of their shots in the first half,
sprinting to a 68-51 lead as DeRozan scored 19 points and Gay
chipped in with 17. Atlanta went mostly with backups, showing no
sense of urgency to claim the No. 5 seed in the Eastern
”I’m going to err on the side of caution,” Hawks coach Larry
Atlanta fell into a tie with Chicago for the fifth spot. The
teams finish the regular season on Wednesday, with the Hawks
traveling to New York to face the Knicks, while the Bulls are home
against lowly Washington. Chicago holds the tiebreaker.
Kyle Korver led the Hawks with 13 points, extending his 3-point
streak to 73 consecutive games.
But he didn’t sound too thrilled about the way Atlanta is
playing going to the playoffs.
”I just go in the game when they tell me to,” Korver said.
”For some people, the rest is good. But you also want to be in a
rhythm. There’s a balance to it. We’re kind of walking that right
Atlanta center Al Horford didn’t play, sitting out because of
soreness in his left chest, and the rest of the Hawks took the
night off as well – certainly at the defensive end.
Toronto ran right through the Hawks for too many dunks and
layups to count, making 26 of 39 from the field in the opening
half. Amazingly, the Raptors put up 68 points before the break
while turning it over 11 times. It was like watching the
Globetrotters against the Washington Generals, as Toronto set
season highs for points in a half as well as a quarter, scoring 38
in the second.
”Too bad it’s coming at this time when we’re out of the
playoffs,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said.
Atlanta was never up by more than two, and its last lead was
19-18. The Hawks trailed by double digits the rest of the way after
DeRozan knocked down a 3-pointer with 4 minutes left in the opening
”We’re playing freely. We’re going out there and not thinking
so much, playing with our abilities and instincts,” DeRozan said.
”We’ve got a lot of talent on this team. When we play like we
played tonight, we’re tough to beat.”
The Hawks are part of the only race left in the East, but they
are playing like a team that wants no part of a position that might
mean a possible meeting with the defending champion Miami Heat in
the second round.
Then again, it may not matter where the Hawks finish. They are
limping to the end of a season that will be surely be followed by
major changes, with Drew and much of the roster – including Josh
Smith – in the final year of contracts. Atlanta has lost 14 of its
last 25 games, hardly a team on a roll heading to the playoffs.
”My focus right now is to try to keep this team competing at a
high level, which I didn’t think we did in the first half,” Drew
said. ”We came out a little soft, and played as if we were just
winding it down.”
The Raptors led 96-75 at the end of the third, allowing DeRozan
and Gay to spend the entire fourth quarter on the bench. Jonas
Valanciunas scored 13 points, Amir Johnson had 11 and Lowry dished
out 11 assists.
Toronto is showing some life at the end of another disappointing
season, winning its fourth in a row – all over playoff teams.
”Our start put us in this hole,” coach Dwane Casey said.
”We’re going the direction we need to be going in as far as
building a program.”
Korver hit a couple of 3-pointers in the opening minutes to keep
his franchise-record streak alive. Rookie Mike Scott and Ivan
Johnson each scored 12 points, with Scott also grabbing a
career-high 12 rebounds for his first double-double in the NBA.
Shelvin Mack added 11 points.
Toronto’s Terrence Ross appeared to reinjure his left ankle late
in the game when he landed on an Atlanta’s player’s foot. He
hobbled off the court and didn’t return.
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game to honor
victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. … The Hawks rested G
DeShawn Stevenson. … Valanciunas returned after missing two games
with a whiplash-like condition. … Toronto closes the season
Wednesday at home against Boston. … The Raptors improved to 16-16
since acquiring Gay from Memphis. … The only Hawks starter to
play more than 20 minutes was center Johan Petro. Smith played only
12:44 and spent the entire second half watching from the bench, a
towel covering his head.
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