Raptors a step behind as three-game streak ends in Atlanta
A step slow and a beat off, the Raptors just couldn’t make enough plays at critical times as a three-game winning streak came to an end.
In a game in which they could not get maintain any sense of pace, the Raptors dropped a 132-121 decision to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
The Hawks made 19 three-pointers — they had averaged 12 makes a game before Saturday — and their transition defence stifled the Raptors’ running game.
Chris Boucher had one of his strongest games of the season, giving the Raptors an energetic boost off the bench with a career-high 29 points and nine rebounds.
But he was one of only a few Raptors who worked their highest efficiency coming off Friday’s emotional fast-paced win in Brooklyn.
Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry had tough shooting nights, going a combined 10-for-34 from the floor, and Pascal Siakam finished with 15 points.
The Raptors managed to hang around for most of the night, trailing by only six points with about four minutes to go. But Trae Young hit a three-pointer and the Raptors came back with a truly awful offensive possession to swing any momentum.
Young had 28 points and Kevin Huerter hit five three-pointers for the Hawks.–
- No spark: Nick Nurse expected the Raptors to be bit weary coming off a fast-paced emotional game Friday in Brooklyn and said before the game he needed a spark from someone at least a bit rested.
“(There should be) some shorter rotations, probably deeper into the bench, maybe some guys that didn’t play maybe hit the floor tonight, again, just looking for some fresh legs and X-factors out there,” Nurse said before the game.
He didn’t get it from Terence Davis.
After sitting out the entire game in Brooklyn, Davis got some early minutes against the Hawks and did nothing with them.
In about 10 first-half minutes, Davis missed three of his four shots and blew a couple of defensive assignments, hardly the kind of impact Nurse wanted and the Raptors needed.
- Staying hot: Norm Powell continues to provide excellent offence as a spot starter for the injured OG Anunoby.
Powell rang up 20 points against the Hawks, the sixth time in his last seven games he has reached the 20-poimt mark.
Nurse said the hope is that Anunoby returns in the next three games.
“I don’t know if it’ll be right at the end or maybe the last couple, but I think those are probably the ones that are in play,” Nurse said of Anunoby, who is out with a calf injury.
- Breaking the streak: Siakam looked a bit reticent to fire up a three-pointer early in the first quarter and why not?
Coming into Saturday’s game, he had missed seven straight shots from beyond the arc and was mired in a gruesome 2-for-26 slump.
He made his first attempt against the Hawks and Nurse said he is hoping Siakam progresses to his historical norms.
“I would imagine, that it’ll round back into his game and he’ll get up there shooting in the mid-30s (percentage) or higher here at some point,” Nurse said. “I just think that he’s working his way through some things … he’s taking some steps forward, and I think that’ll probably be another piece he can add here once he gets a little more confident.”