Toronto Raptors only have themselves to blame for a pretty bad performance in Atlanta. It was no secret what the Hawks were going to do to try and score in this game. They were going to shoot it from three and mix that up with going inside to Horford and Millsap. Hawks are a classic inside and outside attack that has become common place for many NBA teams. Just to drive home the point Kyle Korver had made a three in 75 consecutive games coming in. It would take less than a minute for him to extend that streak as he was abusing Demar DeRozan on the defensive end of the floor. DeRozan would eventually go on a furious run in the second half to try and bring the Raptors back but far too little and far too late. Where this game really slipped away was late in the second quarter where the Raptors went to sleep and allowed the Hawks to build 12 point halftime lead primarily in the final three minutes of the half. In the end the Hawks took this one 102-95.
The final score was quite flattering to the Raptors to tell the truth. Atlanta was the team that was moving the ball on the offensive end of the floor and the Raptors were not. The Hawks had a 24-15 advantage in assists to emphasis that fact. Raptors were playing as individuals more than as a team and no player illustrated that more than Rudy Gay. He was a one man black hole shooting 6 for 23 with 14 points and was 0-3 from three point range. To illustrate is me first attitude he had 14 shot attempts in comparison to the rest of the Starting 5 having just 16 at the half.
Hard to remember but this game started with a lovely drive and score for Jonas Valancuinas. He would only see four shot attempts the rest of the night. He was also left hanging trying to defend Al Horford which was a tough task for the second year player as Horford led the Hawks with 22. It is not like the Raptors were sticking to three point shooters to be unable to help him out as Atlanta was 10-23 from long range.
In truth the Raptors reserves did a better job on the defensive side of the ball but combined only produced 15 points. It was a dejected DeRozan and Gay that addressed the media after this one
The Raptors face a Bucks team that came back from 22 down to beat the Celtics 105-98. The Bucks have some real injury concerns early at the point guard as they are already down to their third string option at the position with both Knight and Ridnour out of the line-up. If you’re concerned this game will not happen tomorrow night after the mess in the pre-season with the Bucks floor no need to be. The Bucks are going to use their old floor while they figure out why the new one leaks.
In the end if you want to talk about being a playoff team, games like last night simply can’t happen on consistent basis. Talking about being a playoff team is nice, but two games in the Raptors look nothing like one at this point. The scary thing is it only gets tougher from here. The Raptors can ill afford to drop another winnable game on Saturday against the bucks.