The regular season opens on a sour note for the Atlanta Hawks with a 109-102 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Atlanta mounted a furious fourth quarter rally and cut a 19 point deficit to just four with 35.9 seconds remaining behind a desperate defense and some hot shooting from Mike Scott and Jeff Teague. However, a late offensive rebound by DeMar DeRozan and two ensuing free throws proved to be the difference and denied Atlanta's comeback bid.
Both teams traded punches in the early going. The Hawks used a 7-0 run to close to within a single point at 51-50 with just over two minutes remaining in the half. The Raptors responded after a time out and closed the half with a 9-2 run to take a 60-52 lead into the intermission.
Toronto poured it on in the third and continued to pound away at the Hawks. The Raptors outscored Atlanta 26-19 in the period and extended the lead to 86-71 heading to the fourth.
Atlanta shot 50 percent from the field in the game and connected on 13-22 attempts from three-point range. They however were undone by 19 turnovers and their struggles from the free throw line where they were just 9-17. In contrast Toronto was 27-33 from the charity stripe and only turned the ball over 10 times. The Raptors held a 48-42 rebounding advantage that included 16 offensive boards. That was more than enough to cover up their 41 percent shooting and 8-26 mark from three-point range.
Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague and Mike Scott all finished with 20 points for Atlanta. Korver went 6-7 from three-point range while Scott finished 4-6. Al Horford and Paul Millsap both finished with double doubles but struggled a bit offensively. Horford finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and three assists on 6-15 shooting. Millsap posted the solid line of 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists but was 4-13 from the field and 5-9 from the free throw line.
Jonas Valanciunas led seven different Raptors in double figures with 17 points. Amir Johnson logged a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan had a tough shooting night going 4-16 but finished with a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with six steals.
Atlanta is back in action on Saturday when they take on the Indiana Pacers in their home opener at Philips Arena.