Hawks return from break with ugly loss

The Hawks may need to check baggage claim. They definitely left something behind on their return from the All-Star break.

Namely, their shooting touch went missing Friday.

The Hawks trailed by as many as 35 points in a lopsided loss to the Raptors, 105-80, at Philips Arena. The Hawks shot a season-low 33 percent from the floor (29 of 88). Their previous worst was 36.7 percent in a loss to the Bucks Dec. 27.

The Hawks trailed for much of the first half but never more than by eight points. It all fell apart in the third quarter. The Hawks scored just 13 points, a season-low for the third quarter this season. They shot just 18.8 percent from the floor on 3 of 19 shooting, including 0 of 8 from 3-point range. They had just one assist, had five shots blocked and committed nine turnovers. By the time the period was over, the Raptors led by as many as 23 points.

The rout was on.

“We just didn’t play good at all,” Al Horford said. “It’s hard to explain. I felt like we missed some shots there early in the third and got a little discouraged. You have to give them credit. They were so ready to play. They really took it to us.”

It was a big loss for the Hawks (43-12, 25-4 home) in the Eastern Conference. Their lead over the second-place Raptors was trimmed to just 5-1/2 games. The Raptors own the head-to-head tiebreaker by winning the season series 3-1.

The Hawks have lost two straight, their longest losing streak of the season, and four of their last seven games.

The starting unit was 16 of 50 from the field with 11 assists and 13 turnovers. Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague each had 11 points. Korver was 3 of 13 and Millsap was 5 of 15. Horford had 12 rebounds.

“Not so much the shots and the offense,” coach Mike Budenholzer said of the decisive third quarter. “I think there are some nights when you are not going to make shots. That’s what we’ve said, that you’ve got to be better defensively on those nights. You have to rely on your defense when you are not making shots. I don’t think we were good on the defensive end of the court. I’m probably more concerned with the shots they were getting, the open looks they were getting, the second shots they were getting, the loose balls they were getting. I think the offense, at least tonight, was not our biggest concern.”

The Raptors (37-17) have won four straight. They have won three games against the Hawks this season. No other team in the NBA has more than one.

Lou Williams again plagued his former team as the South Gwinnett product had a game-high 26 points, including 7 of 10 shooting from 3-point range. DeMar DeRozan finished with 21 points.

The Hawks had 23 turnovers that led to 30 Raptors points.

“When you turn the ball over like that against a good team they are going to take advantage of it,” DeMarre Carroll said. “Defensively, we weren’t the aggressive team. We came out lackadaisical, soft, no physicality. That’s what you get with no physicality.”

The Raptors took a 49-45 lead into intermission. DeRozan (17) and Williams (14) did most of the damage as they combined for 31 points. They had 12 of the Raptors’ 20 field goals.

“I don’t think we ever got into a rhythm as a team,” Korver said. “There are lots of easy excuses. Put in on the break, it’s been a long stretch here with a lot of things going on. We should be better as a collective group. We need to play better.”

The Hawks play at the Bucks on Sunday afternoon.