In the wake of the blockbuster trade announced earlier in the day, the Toronto Raptors fell 93-92 to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Al Horford had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who improved to 26-19 on the season.
Demar Derozan had a game-high 23 points for the Raptors (16-30), who underwent their first, but possibly not their last team makeover before the trade deadline. Ed Davis and Jose Calderon were both shipped in a three-team deal that landed star forward Rudy Gay. GM Brian Colangelo was understandably optimistic about his deal.
“He knows how to win,” he told TSN’s Rod Black. “He’s always had an affinity for Toronto”.
Davis and Calderon will certainly be missed.
“You’re talking about two young men who’ve worked very hard and helped this organization,” said Colangelo. “It’s never an easy thing to do.”
Meanwhile, the Raptors jumped out to a quick start against a sluggish Hawks team that hardly looked like the East’s number five seed. The Raps led 55-45 at the half, and while I’d like to attribute this to the skill of the new-look squad, it was probably the Hawks’ pigeon-esque play more than anything. Turnovers, missed free throws, the whole deal. It seemed like Kyle Korver was the only one on the floor who had actually knew what he was doing.
The Raptors got absolutely decimated in the third quarter, a.k.a. business as usual. The 10-point lead had morphed into a six-point deficit by the end. The Hawks should have led by nine, but a silly foul call on a last-second half-court heave by Derozan kept the Raps in the game.
That foul call was one in a series of calls that went the Raptors’ way. They were seemingly able to take charges at will, much to the frustration of the Hawks’ already chaotic offense. Perhaps this string of favorable calls contributed to the non-call that lost the Raptors the game.
After battling back admirably in the fourth quarter, the Raptors had the ball, down one, with 20 seconds left. After Kyle Lowry’s layup attempt was blocked out of bounds, Derozan bobbled the inbounds pass. It bounced in and out of Korver’s hands to Alan Anderson, who missed a jump shot. Derozan than got the rebound, put up a shot and was clearly fouled. After his shot missed, Amir Johnson rebounded it but couldn’t hold on, and time expired. Dwane Casey was uttering all sorts of obscenities, and I can only imagine how disapproving Anderson’s facial expression was.
At the end of the day though, this was just another addition to the Raps’ endless stream of close losses. It’s tough to point fingers, especially with the team undermanned due to the trade, but when John Lucas is your secondary scoring option, you clearly have some guys that need to step up. Anderson continued his run of atrocious shooting, and Amir Johnson looked like he had a hitch in his jump shot.
The Raptors will look to bounce back Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Casey Sherman is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.