Hawks-Raptors: Five observations

Five observations

1. Lowry-DeRozan combo too much

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer knew the key against the Raptors was stopping Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. They failed. The all-star guards combined for 53 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds.

“Lowry and DeRozan … those guys are all-stars, MVP candidates, everything,” Budenholzer said before the game. “You try to throw everything at them and they still manage to get shots and score. If we can make it difficult on them and keep them off the free-throw line and the 3-point line, those are two huge things.

2. Lowry fakes

Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore each fell victim to a Lowry fake and launch of a 3-pointer early in the second quarter. Lowry made 5 of the 6 free throws.

“They are very smart in how they create contact, how they get to the free-throw line,” Budenholzer said after the game. “So you have to be even smarter, even more disciplined.”

The Raptors had 28 free-throw attempts to the Hawks’ 13.

3. Bad long-range shooting

The Hawks’ starters were not good from long range. They finished 4 of 13 from long distance. As a team, the Hawks were just 5 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half. The Raptors were 7 of 14 in the same stretch. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished 4 of 7 from long range, part of a reserve group that went 10 of 20 with all the makes in the fourth-quarter rally.

4. The Run, Part I

The Raptors led by 13 points at halftime, 54-41. The Hawks came out of intermission and used a 12-4 run, with eight points from Jeff Teague, to cut their deficit to five points. The Raptors pushed back with a 15-2 run to regain a comfortable lead at 73-55.

“I thought to start the third quarter we had a good start to cut it to five right away and there was a good energy,” Budenholzer said. “And then they put a push back on us. We weren’t able to sustain that first push coming out of halftime. I thought the effort that third quarter was good. The effort, it’s not that it wasn’t good, we didn’t match it tonight. You have to. We’ll be better.”

5. The Run, Part II

The Raptors took their biggest lead, 91-67, early in the fourth quarter. The Hawks’ reserves went on a 17-2 run to cut their deficit to nine points. Guess what? The Raptors pushed back again with a 10-2 run and the outcome was never in doubt again.