The Toronto Raptors were soundly beaten for a second straight night on Saturday in a 127-100 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The loss drops the Raptors to 32-27 on the year with a 16-14 record on the road. They’re now 0-2 following the all-star break and the news of OG Anunoby’s finger injury, which has no timetable for return.
Toronto’s first quarter performance was much better than the previous night in Charlotte against the Hornets, with Fred VanVleet getting active early and giving his side a 37-32 lead. The second quarter told a different story as Trae Young completely took over, although it was still a manageable 8-point halftime deficit. Third quarters have been an issue for the Raptors all season and it was no different on Saturday night, as the Hawks effectively put the game away with a dominant 38-16 quarter, putting the Raptors down 30 heading into the fourth. The final frame was better, but at that point it didn’t matter as the Hawks were able to cruise to a 27-point victory on their home floor.
VanVleet was the best performer on a night to forget for the Raptors, scoring 24 points with 9 assists. Pascal Siakam scored 14 on 6/16 from the floor, adding 10 rebounds for the double-double. Outside of them, the other three starters (Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes and Khem Birch) were only able to combine for 15 in total. There were a few bright spots off the bench as Precious Achiuwa had his best game as a Raptor, scoring 21 points on 8/12 shooting with 9 rebounds while Thaddeus Young was efficient with 10 points and 3 assists. It was a better-than-usual offensively display from the bench, but the defensive effort from the entire team kept this game far out of reach.
Young was dominant for Atlanta in Saturday’s win, scoring 41 points with 11 assists for the impressive double-double. Kevin Huerter and De’Andre Hunter finished with 14 points each, and Clint Capela had 8 points with 9 boards. Onyeka Okongwu and Bogdan Bogdanovic were the main performers off the Hawks bench, scoring 17 and 16 points respectively and combining for 13 boards. It was a dominant offensive display by an Atlanta team that is dangerous when Young is firing on all cylinders, even with the absence of John Collins.
The Raptors defence was unable to guard much of anything in the loss, allowing the Hawks to shoot 57% from the field and 42% from three. Toronto’s offensive numbers weren’t terrible, but you aren’t winning many games in the NBA with those kinds of defensive figures.
The Raptors remain in seventh in the East despite the loss, holding on to a 5.5 game advantage over the 11-seed Washington Wizards for a play-in tournament spot, although they’re now 2.5 games behind Boston for the final automatic berth. The race is intense with 23 games to play, and things won’t get any easier for the Raptors who play 4 games in the next 6 days.
The Raptors will try and bounce back on Monday when they travel to Brooklyn for a crucial matchup with the 8th place Nets, while the Hawks will head to Boston for a Tuesday night clash with the Celtics.
VanVleet – 24 PTS 3 REB 9 AST
Siakam – 14 PTS 10 REB 5 AST
Achiuwa – 21 PTS 9 REB 2 AST
Young – 41 PTS 4 REB 11 AST
Huerter – 14 PTS 4 REB 3 AST
Okongwu – 17 PTS 7 REB 1 AST