The Toronto Raptors enjoyed a rare laugher last night. Their largest first half scoring outburst of the season was more than enough to ground the Atlanta Hawks, who seldom appeared interested in tedious matters like hustling back on defense. DeMar DeRozan continued his recent spell of fine play by pouring in 30 points. The sudden addition of a functional 3-point shot has been huge for DD, as defenders can no longer play him “loose” until he’s inside the arc. He hit 3 of 5 tries from distance. Rudy Gay also enjoyed a successful night, adding 22 points, including a 4-point play in the second quarter, when the Raps ran roughshod. Both of our wingmen, as well as Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas, were the beneficiaries of alley-oop passes from the alert Kyle Lowry, who finished with 11 assists. He managed 2 long baskets, which were a welcome relief from his cold spell. Alan Anderson, unfortunately, remains frosty, making only 1 field goal in 9 tries.
Al Horford sat out the game for Atlanta with a shoulder problem, and Josh Smith sat down early after banging his knee in a collision. The Hawks couldn’t replace their offense, and their high scorer was Kyle Korver with a sad 13 points. Perhaps there’s comfort in the fact every Hawk who hit the floor scored. Hawks coach Larry Drew ran up the white flag after the third quarter, in which the Raps stretched their lead to 21, and both benches emptied as a result. The Hawks struggle with fan support at the best of times, and a visit from the Raps isn’t one of those. The game was played in eerie quiet.
Amir Johnson gets a major shout-out for his 6 blocked shots, and for the highest plus at 22. The indefatigable Johnson scored 11 points, and pulled down 8 boards. Jonas, who was not expected to play, contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds, plus 3 blocks. Quincy Acy continues to impress with intense defense and occasional offense. This fellow is a keeper, without doubt.
The Raps are now riding a 4-game win streak, all of those against playoff-bound teams. They see another one tonight in Toronto, as the Boston Celtics arrive to close out the season.
Brian Boake is Senior 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.