- Paul Attfield Special to the AJC
Toronto -- With just three road wins to their name all season, the Hawks’ road losing skid reached a season-high six games following Friday night’s 111-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
However, even in the aftermath of a lopsided defeat, the players looked at what they could learn from the atmosphere produced by the sellout crowd of 19,800 at Air Canada Centre.
“The fans are great, always, even if they lose, the fans are here and they are always into the game,” Dennis Schroder said. “In Atlanta we want to get to that point as well. For sure it is a tough place to play.”
With just one home defeat all year as part of their NBA-best 13-1 record in Toronto, the Raptors have turned their home court into a veritable fortress, especially coming off a pair of tough road losses themselves.
Trying to emulate that kind of environment would be good for any team, but for a Hawks team that is just 6-11 at Philips Arena, and heads home to play the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, it would be especially timely.
“It’s about coming together and staying strong,” John Collins said. “A team like that, they’re going to make good runs, I think they were on a losing streak as well, too, so they’re going to come out with a lot of fire, try to take it to us at home on a Friday night, so we just got to come out and compete harder sometimes with a team like that.”
With a 3-15 record on the road after Friday night’s loss, the Hawks are fully aware that it is an unwanted record that is going to have to be turned around if Atlanta is going to get back into any kind of playoff race.
However, after erupting for a career-high 30 points on Friday night, forward Taurean Prince said that it doesn’t bother him where a game is played, but that playing in front of a appreciative crowd helps bring out the best in him.
“I like playing basketball period, whether it’s home, away, somebody else’s house, another country, especially in environments like this, I love the fact that Toronto had a lot of fans here,” he said. “I like playing in front of a lot of fans and Atlanta’s starting to get like that as well.”