Hawks’ offense affects defense in loss to Toronto

Members of the Toronto Raptors pause for a moment of silence during a tribute to Kobe Bryant ahead of the team's NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

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Members of the Toronto Raptors pause for a moment of silence during a tribute to Kobe Bryant ahead of the team's NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

After falling behind early, the Hawks (12-36) got down by as much as 28 in a 130-114 loss to the Raptors (33-14) Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. With five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, pretty much all of which was garbage time, the Hawks avoided shooting a season-low percentage from 3-point range. They went 12-for-47 (25.5%), and their season-low is 6-for-20 (20%) in a loss in Chicago Nov. 6. The Hawks have been at or near the bottom of the league in 3-point percentage pretty much all this season, but many of their misses in Tuesday’s loss weren’t contested -- they were open looks that simply missed the mark, which kept them from chipping away at the deficit in a substantial way: “I think the easy answer is we missed a lot of open, wide-open shots that we’ll take every night we step out on the court,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “The reality is we didn’t change the game, defensively and physicality-wise, because we weren’t making shots. We let our offense really dictate our energy and our tempo and our pace and our mood.” Overall, the Hawks are last in the league in 3-point percentage (32.3%). They take them at a higher volume (eighth-most attempts with 35.6) and make an average of 11.5 3’s per game (which puts them at 19th).

2. The Hawks, who were short-handed and lacking some size without centers Alex Len (right hip flexor strain) and Bruno Fernando (left calf strain), trailed by as much as 17 in the first half, and the game quickly got even more out of hand in the second. In the fourth quarter, the Raptors went on a 14-0 run to make it 111-83 as the Hawks were held scoreless until the 8:01 mark. Toronto, which has won eight games in a row, led by double-digits for the entire second half and was led by All-Star Pascal Siakam (24 points) and Serge Ibaka (24 points). “It was just one of those nights,” said Trae Young, who finished with 18 points (5 of 13 field goals, 1-for-7 from 3-point range, 7 of 8 free throws) and 13 assists. “Sometimes your shot doesn’t fall. ... Nights like that, sometimes, you’ve got to give them credit. They did a lot of different schemes defensively, but they didn’t want me to score.” John Collins led the Hawks with a game-high 28 points and game-high 12 rebounds.

3. Vince Carter, who played the first six-plus seasons of his NBA career with the Raptors, received a warm welcome, complete with a standing ovation after a video honoring his time in Toronto played on the jumbotron. Carter, who had 10 points and five rebounds, won Rookie of the Year in 1999 (he was drafted in 1998), won the Slam Dunk contest in 2000 and averaged 23.4 points, 3.9 assists and 5.2 rebounds during his career as a Raptor. This marked Carter’s 1,522nd appearance in a game, which ties Dirk Nowitzki for third place in NBA games played (Robert Parish is first with 1,611 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is second with 1,560). “All the other arenas where I’ve seen old Raptor clips, it’s been cool,” Carter said. “But you see those clips when you’re actually in this building and you recall moments, situations, spots on the floor, how plays evolve, I remember those things and it’s always a little special, it’s always been special when you’re actually right here in the building.”

4. Tributes to NBA-great Kobe Bryant, who passed away in a helicopter crash Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, continued. The Raptors honored Bryant with a 24-second moment of silence before the game (Bryant wore No. 24 for the last half of his 20-season career with the Lakers). When the Hawks’ score reached 81 in the third quarter, the normally white numbers on the jumbotron turned purple (Bryant famously scored 81 points against the Raptors in 2006). Around the league, players have worn No. 24 (or No. 8, which Bryant wore for the first half of his career) and opened up games with eight-second backcourt violations and 24-second shot-clock violations. They’ve also written names and messages on their shoes in his honor, as Young did in the Hawks’ win vs. the Wizards Sunday (Young also wore No. 8 to start Sunday’s game before switching back to his normal No. 11).

5. Turnovers continue to hurt the Hawks. They had 18 turnovers in the loss and the Raptors capitalized, scoring 30 points off those turnovers. Overall, the Hawks lead the league in turnovers with 16.8 per game.

By the numbers 

61-26 (what Toronto’s bench scored compared to Atlanta’s)

Quotable 

“We could have made this game a little bit different with the defensive intensity and we lacked that, really because the shots weren’t falling and we let that affect us.” (Coach Lloyd Pierce on the Hawks’ defense)