Hawks lose to Raptors despite 30 points from Prince

  • Paul Attfield
  • Special to the AJC
Dec 29, 2017
Cole Burston/AP
Toronto Raptors forward Norman Powell (24) blocks a shot by Atlanta Hawks guard Marco Belinelli (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Toronto. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO -- Taurean Prince scored a career-high 30 points but was unable to prevent the Hawks falling to their sixth straight road defeat of the season as the Toronto Raptors surged to a 111-98 win on Friday night.

With Raptors star Serge Ibaka serving a one-game team suspension for an altercation with a staff member following Toronto’s loss in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, the Hawks were unable to capitalize and saw their two-game winning streak snapped. They are now just 3-15 away from Philips Arena.

Prince was 12 of 16 from the field, including a career-high-equaling 5 of 6 from beyond the arc in extending his career-best streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 17 games. He added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

Dennis Schroder had 14 points, but shot just 6 of 20 from the field, to go along with nine assists, and Marco Belinelli added 14 more off the bench.

DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors with 25 points, while center Jonas Valanciunas registered his seventh double-double of the season off 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Playing its second road game in two weeks, Atlanta was in front for much of the opening quarter, led by Schroder’s six points. But keyed by five points from Kyle Lowry, Toronto closed on a 16-3 run over the final 3:43 of the period to open up a 30-22 advantage.

After shooting 39.1% from the field in the opening quarter, the Hawks found their groove in the second, connecting at a 47.6% clip, but the Raptors bettered that by shooting 48.1%, eventually opening up an 18-point lead on a C.J. Miles 3-pointer with 1:13 to play. A Schroder jump shot and Prince’s second 3-pointer of the game cut into that lead, but a Malcolm Delaney foul on DeRozan sent the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week to the free-throw line and he converted both, sending the game into halftime with the Raptors up 62-47.

After falling behind by 20 points with 6:59 to play in the third quarter, Atlanta went on a 9-0 run, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk by John Collins, to close the deficit to 77-66 with 4:10 to go. 

DeRozan snapped that streak with back-to-back 3-pointers as Toronto embarked on their own unanswered run, pushing the score to 88-66. Delaney closed out the quarter by converting a free throw and adding a reverse layup to send the Hawks into the final 12 minutes down by 19 points.