Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives between Atlanta Hawks forwards John Collins (20) and Taurean Prince during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Photo: Frank Gunn/AP
Photo: Frank Gunn/AP

Ten observations: Raptors 106, Hawks 90

Ten observations from watching Hawks-Raptors on TV . . .

  1. This was another good effort by the Hawks, who led with 11 minutes to play but faded over the final eight minutes. The Raptors put the Hawks away with a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter. Until then the Raptors weren’t sharp but give the Hawks credit. They were ready for the Raptors after taking three big losses to them this season.  The Hawks didn’t shoot the ball well and committed  21 turnovers but were aggressive offensively (21 free-throw attempts) and scrappy defensively (eight steals and six blocked shots). 
  2. The Hawks led 51-50 at halftime. The Raptors opened the second half with a 7-0 run led by dynamic backcourt duo Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Lowry muscled in an and-1 against John Collins, DeRozan took a bump from Collins and scored a reverse layup and then Lowry cut through the lane for an uncontested layup assisted by big man Jonas Valanciunas. But the Hawks answered with a 11-4 in which four different players scored, and the game was on again from there.
  3. Kent Bazemore was back in the starting lineup after sitting out the Suns game. Coach Mike Budenholzer mixed-and-matched lineups in the fourth quarter. Collins, Dennis Schroder and Dewayne Dedmon played while the game was competitive late but so did Mike Muscala, Tyler Dorsey and Jaylen Morris. 
  4. Hawks bigs combined for 40 points on 29 shots while feasting on chances as roll men in the paint.  Collins, Dedmon and Miles Plumlee all got easy chances going to the basket.
  5. Morris was the first Hawks wing off the bench. He checked in for a tough cover in DeRozan. Morris did OK in those four minutes and again during another stretch checking DeRozan late in the half. During the latter sequence, Morris frustrated DeRozan on a drive to the basket, drawing an offensive foul. DeRozan earned a technical for barking about the call. In the third quarter, DeRozan scored seven consecutive points to put the Raptors ahead
  6. Lowry also was a bit testy, as he sometimes can be. Lowry didn’t score in the first half (0-for-3 field goals). Lowry was called for his fourth foul with 6:22 to go in the third quarter when he grabbed Collins on a breakaway dunk. The foul was ruled a flagrant upon review. Lowry didn’t go for the ball. 
  7. Plumlee had a very productive five-minute run in the first quarter: six points on five shots, four rebounds and a blocked shot. His size/athleticism combo was too much for Toronto’s reserve bigs, Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam. 
  8. During a 13-2 Hawks run in the second quarter, Taurean Prince made back-to-back threes and Bazemore made it three in a row. Prince finished 3-for-6 on three-pointers and is 21-for-42 ( 50 percent) over his past five games. Bazemore made 2 of 3 three-pointers and and is 52-for-123 ( 42 percent) for the calendar year. 
  9. Hawks wings had a good night as play-makers. Prince and Bazemore combined for eight assists. Morris had two assists and Morris one. Dorsey looked confident as the secondary pick-and-roll ballhandler. 
  10. The Hawks ran out to an 11-4 lead on the strength of good defense and sharp play-making. The scores: Prince drove and kicked to Bazemore for a corner three-pointer; Bazemore’s steal led to a Collins dunk; Bazemore fed Collins for another dunk on a perfectly-timed screen-roll in the paint; Prince jumped Valanciunas’ pass for a steal and run-out dunk; Collins passed out of the high post to Bazemore on a cut for layup. It was a fine stretch of play.

About the Author

Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.