By: Josh Weinstein
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To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Toronto Raptors (12-7) breezed past the dismal Atlanta Hawks (4-16) in a 112-78 smackdown to wrap up their three-game road trip.
Toronto starters didn’t get off to the hottest of starts, allowing Atlanta to keep the game close after 12 minutes. But once the bench checked in, the Raptors lead started to balloon. In the second quarter, Toronto outscored Atlanta 39-14, and in doing so matched the Hawks point total for the entire first half. The game was essentially decided at that point, with the Raptors leading 67-39 heading at halftime.
The Hawks really struggled offensively, knocking down just 35 percent of their field goal attempts. They were outrebounded by 14, didn’t have an answer for Toronto’s rapid ball movement, and seemed discombobulated from the second quarter until the final buzzer.
Norman Powell did a great job as an offensive shot creator off the bench, scoring a team-high 17 points for Toronto. Powell was one of three members of the bench unit that had big offensive nights, with Jakob Poeltl (14 points) and Pascal Siakam (13 points) also scoring in double-figures. Poeltl and Siakam were both magnificent, combining to shoot a ridiculous 72 percent on 18 shots.
On a night DeMar DeRozan continued to struggle - he finished with just two points on five shots - Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas picked up the slack for the starters. After being benched in Indiana, Valanciunas responded with 16 points and eight boards. He rarely missed attempts around the rim and created second-chance opportunities with four offensive rebounds. The one downside of Valanciunas' game was his four turnovers. The Lithuanian has turned the ball over 10 times in his past three outings, which is an aspect of his game that needs to improve going forward, especially since he's not a primary ball handler.
As for Lowry, he scored 15 and snagged a ridiculous 13 rebounds. Remember, this is a man who’s 6’0”! Recording 10 or more rebounds in three straight games is quite the feat for the point guard, especially because he’s one of the smallest players on the court.
OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka also scored in double-figures to round out the seven Raptors players that scored over 10 points. This game truly was a team effort from the get-go. As noted in this game preview, the Raptors needed to put forth a strong effort across 48 minutes. Last night, they did just that.
The Raptors have a few days off before returning to Air Canada Centre on Wednesday to host the Charlotte Hornets.