The Toronto Raptors played three quarters of a basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks. Unfortunately for the home side, the rules call for a fourth quarter, and in that one the Raps disappeared. Being steamrolled by Atlanta’s veterans was an ugly site, in particular when the visitors poured in 16 unanswered points. The Raps lost the quarter, and the game, by 19.
The first half was a scrambley affair, but the Raps managed to keep themselves in front of the Hawks due to effective play from Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. Rudy, who was not expected to dress due to back spasms, scored and rebounded with aplomb. Amir Johnson did not participate with his usual abandon, but contributed. However, he appeared to turn an ankle early in the third quarter, and hobbled off the court, not to return. The Raps lost the rest of the game by 26. Coincidence? I think not.
Jonas Valanciunas had a number of isolation plays called for him, and responded well, leading the Raps with 19 points, including 4 and1 opportunities (of which he converted 3). He continues to show great progress down low, and it’s sometimes hard to remember he’s still a 20-year-young rookie. Terrence Ross, our other promising first-year man, scored 13 points, including several highlight-reel dunks. Coach Dwane Casey still doesn’t like these two on the court at the same time, but finally relented when the game was out of reach. Kyle Lowry’s 3-point shooting is in the deep freeze. While he dished out 10 assists, he needs to score for the Raps to have a chance.
The Hawks are a mature team, and showed that emphatically in crunch time. Al Horford can both crash the boards like a classic centre, and shoot like a small forward from outside. The Raps had no answer for him, as he scored 26 points. Jeff Teague also bedeviled Toronto, driving to the hoop when the seam was there, or burying 3 of 4 long balls. His 24 points and 13 assists were huge for the Hawks, the kind of point guard numbers the Raps haven’t had a sniff of since Jose Calderon was ushered out of town.
Qunicy Acy was in street clothes, but one hopes we’ll see him dressed on the floor for the Raps’ next game on Friday night in Detroit. The kids will have to get the burn, because our veterans aren’t scaring anyone.
Brian Boake is a co-editor 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.