Raptors 108, Hawks 93: Raptors take care of business, dominate Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 24: Jonas Valanciunas
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 24: Jonas Valanciunas /

Coming off three days rest, against an inferior opponent, the Toronto Raptors took care of business against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

After receiving some much-needed rest, the Toronto Raptors dominated the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. There were little to no signs of rust as the Raptors jumped out to an early lead and cruised from that point forward.

At the end of the first quarter the Raptors lead was already double-digits. Perhaps due to their fresh legs and ability to swarm to the basketball, the Raptors played excellent defense in the first quarter, holding the Hawks to just 16 points on 33-percent shooting from the field.

Early on, Jonas Valanciunas led the way for Toronto offensively. The big-man scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and had four rebounds in the first quarter alone.

Despite taking a considerable lead into the second-quarter, the Raptors did not let off the gas. Toronto outscored Atlanta again in the second, albeit by a lesser margin, this time only by four. Toronto’s bench dominated the second quarter, scoring more points than the starters, while being led by Fred VanVleet spectacular play.

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Fred VanVleet played particularly well in the second quarter and had a career night on Wednesday overall. The talented, second year guard scored a team high 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished five assists, and even blocked three shots.

VanVleet has become more and more reliable since his addition to the team, and games like this are making it impossible for Coach Dwayne Casey to keep him under 20 minutes per game, whether there is a log-jam at point guard or not.

With the potential to close the Hawks out in the third, coach Casey decided to play both  Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan the entire third quarter. Neither played particularly well, although Toronto did still win the quarter by two points, thanks in large part, to OG Anunoby.  In the midst of a shooting slump, OG scored eight points in the third quarter and 10 on the night overall.

With the Raptors up by 20, the game was essentially decided by the fourth quarter. Any doubt that remained was erased in the opening couple of minutes. The Raptors bench mob unit went on a 12-0 run at the beginning of the quarter, increasing the lead to 32 and killing whatever hope the Hawks had remaining.

Playing one of the NBA’s worst teams on multiple days rest should be an easy win for a premier team like the Raptors. Wednesday’s contest was just that. Still, it’s good to see a team not playing down to its level of competition and winning the games it should.

Next: Ranking the Raptors Trade Value

The Toronto Raptors play next on Friday January 26, against the Utah Jazz 7:30 PM ET.