The Hawks made way too many mistakes Monday night that the Raptors capitalized on. The Hawks fell 139-109 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Here are five observations:
1. The Hawks understood heading into Monday’s matchup that they would face a Raptors team with lots of length. They seemed unprepared for it, though.
The Hawks gave up 14 points off 10 turnovers in the first half to Toronto, which ranks second in the NBA in steals. Atlanta trailed by 11 at halftime.
When the Hawks tried to attack the paint, the Raptors picked their pockets in the lane. The Hawks also had trouble pushing the ball in transition because the Raptors were in position to tip the ball away.
The Raptors average 17.7 deflections per game and 9.5 steals per game. During pregame media availability, Hawks coach Nate McMillan said the main thing his team needed to do was take care of the ball.
“With our turnovers, I thought they played with more urgency, more scrap than we did tonight,” McMillan said. “And it was that way pretty much for 48 minutes. When you’re supposed to be getting stronger, we give up a 44-point fourth quarter, 43 fast-break points. Just not taking care of the ball, playing loose with the basketball, and a team like this will pounce on you as they do.”
2. Foul trouble disrupted any rhythm the Hawks might have had. Plus, the Raptors capitalized, making 33 of 40 at the free-throw line. The Hawks struggled to match the Raptors’ length. De’Andre Hunter finished with five fouls, and John Collins fouled out.
Raptors All-Star Pascal Siakam went to the line 16 times and scored a game-high 31 points.
“I thought there was more urgency coming from them, and they played harder,” McMillan said. “You know, they outscrapped us and, you know, when you’re playing with that pace as they did, and you’re gonna get the benefit of the whistle. They were more aggressors as far as going to the basket, getting to the paint, getting to the free-throw line.”
3. The Hawks couldn’t cool the Raptors from long range, most notably last season’s Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. The 21-year-old scored 21 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers.
The Raptors warmed up early, with Barnes knocking down three consecutive shots from long range that helped the Raptors take a five-point lead. In the first quarter, the Raptors made 5 of 8 shots from long distance and took a six-point lead.
The Hawks were unable to close out on the Raptors. Toronto knocked down 14 3-pointers in the game.
“You gotta get up (and) guard,” McMillan said. “I mean, we gotta get up and go get pressure on the ball, keep the ball in front of us. They pretty much got whatever they wanted – penetration to the basket, to the free-throw line. They were knocking down their 3s, transition. They pretty much got what they wanted.”
4. The Hawks received solid minutes early from Clint Capela, who finished with 13 points. Capela scored Atlanta’s first five points after making solid cuts to the basket.
With the Raptors stifling the Hawks around the perimeter, Capela looked to get open inside the paint, where he tried to finish through contact.
Unfortunately for Capela, he went 1 of 4 from the line early in the first quarter. He made 6 of 7 shots from the floor as the Hawks tried to climb back into the game.
“I know that they have a lot of length, and they’re going to challenge shots a lot,” Capela said. “So, I found myself open a couple of times, and my teammates were seeing me. So, it was really good. It was just a way to help my team, is by finishing strong at the rim and feed off of that energy as well.”
5. The Hawks still have kinks to work out. They are 2-2 on their first road trip. The Hawks still have to build on-court chemistry and understand the nuances of each other’s games, which will take time.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Dejounte Murray said. “We’ve got a long way to go, and there’s a bunch of room to improve. And, like I said, we will do that. We like each other off the floor. You know, we hang out, we smile, we have conversation, and that’s huge. So, on the floor, that stuff is gonna translate. It takes time. It (doesn’t) happen overnight; great things don’t happen overnight. And, like I said, we just got to stick together.”
Stat to know
The Hawks have scored 100 or more points in each of the first seven games this season. It’s the first time since 2013-14 they have opened the season with seven consecutive 100+ point performances.
“No excuse. Zero excuses for me all the way down. No excuses. We won’t accept excuses.” – Murray on if Saturday’s close game against Milwaukee affected the Hawks on Monday
The Hawks wrap up their five-game road trip against the Knicks on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.