Raptors: Chris Boucher’s stellar performance not enough as Toronto loses to the Hawks

The Toronto Raptors had no time to rest after a controversial win against the Brooklyn Nets. On the second night of a back-to-back, Toronto was unable to come away with the victory against the Atlanta Hawks, snapping their 3 game win streak. Nick Nurse’s squad just seemed a step slow but was able to remain competitive due to the impressive play of Chris Boucher.

Defense was the problem early for the Raptors, as they were unable to close out the Hawks from beyond the arc. Atlanta put up 66 points in the first half alone and connected on 10 threes. Although Toronto themselves scored 63 points, the defense was just a step slow.

Coming off a game against the offensive juggernaut that the Nets are, it’s no surprise the Raptors looked tired. However, some of the rotations on defense were just lazy and led to multiple open 3-point opportunities for the Hawks.

The Toronto Raptors couldn’t stop Trae Young

Luckily, Toronto’s offense has been scintillating over the past few games, and that carried over against Atlanta. Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet were big contributors to the Raptors’ offensive assault, but the attack was spearheaded by the red-hot Boucher, who finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Powell finished the game with 20 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while Vanvleet totaled 25 points and 10 assists.

The Raptors were outscored in both the second and third quarters, but the resilience of Toronto was able to keep them in the game. Boucher had a stretch in which he scored 9 straight points, including a monster dunk on Hawks rookie Onyeka Okongwu. Not only was it a momentum-shifter, but it snapped a four-minute Raptors scoring drought.

Toronto was unable to play solid composed defense for the majority of the game against the Hawks, however. Fouls began to pile up especially towards anyone who was guarding Trae Young. De’Andre Bembry and Terence Davis fell victim to the player who trails only Joel Embiid in free throw attempts per game.

The struggles of VanVleet and Kyle Lowry were detrimental to the Raptors’ ability to keep up with Atlanta. Although VanVleet had 22 points, he did so on just 5-18 shooting from the field. It became evident that whichever team can outscore the other was going to be the one walking away with the victory, since defense was lacking on both sides.

Toronto just seemed gassed from the second quarter onwards. The inability to impede the Hawks’ 3-point shooting was the biggest contributor to the Raptors leaving Atlanta with a loss. Toronto continues their six-game road trip on Monday with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.