Heading into a Saturday evening tilt with the Raptors, the Hawks were looking to carry momentum from a 116-104 victory over the Knicks on Friday night in hopes of securing their fifth win and first back-to-back victories of the season. Those hopes were dashed as the Raptors destroyed the Hawks by a final score of 112-78, dominating Atlanta in every phase of the game while building a lead as much as 45 points before both coaches emptied their benches.
Having played a road-dominant schedule through the first five weeks of the season, the Hawks were aiming to capitalize on their first back-to-back homes games amidst a four-game home stand. The Raptors were looking to get back on track after dropping consecutive road games with losses to the Knicks on Wednesday and to the Pacers on Friday night.
The Hawks have been dealing with a number of injuries during this early stretch of the season. Tonight, the Hawks took the floor without Mike Muscala (ankle), Luke Babbitt (back) and Isaiah Taylor (eye). The Raptors played without reserve guard Delon Wright (shoulder) and reserve forward C.J. Miles who is with his wife for the birth of their child.
The Hawks were sluggish early missing the pace and crisp ball movement that was evident on Friday night. The Hawks came up empty in their first five possessions, including three turnovers, falling behind 6-0. But the Hawks clamped down on the defensive end allowing them time to put together a 7-0 run to tie the game at 9-9, later taking their first lead 14-13 on a Dennis Schroder jumper with 4:36 to go in the quarter.
The Raptors used a four-point trip late in the quarter to retake the lead, getting two on a Fred Van Vleet bucket and a put-back from Jakob Poeltl on the ensuing free throw. The Raptors led the Hawks 28-25 at the end of the first quarter. Both teams turned the ball over six times during the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Raptors completely dominated the Hawks on both ends of the floor. On the offensive end, the Raptors shot 15 of 22, including seven of 10 from the three point line. On the defensive end, the Raptors clamped down on the Hawks forcing six turnovers, all on steals, and held the Hawks to just four field goals in 18 attempts.
The Raptors used an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to increase the lead to nine points at 36-27, prompting Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer to use a time out at 9:30 mark to get his team reorganized. But after the timeout, the Raptors continued to dominate putting together a 13-3 run, getting those 13 points in their next five possessions forcing the Hawks to use another timeout with 6:27 remaining in the quarter. Both timeouts proved futile as the Raptors scored 39 points in the quarter, including 31 from the bench, while the Hawks managed just 14 to finish the half trailing 67-39.
Things got no better for the Hawks after halftime. The Raptors opened the second half on an 8-0 run and never looked back building a lead as big as 45 points late in third before finishing the quarter with a 99-58 lead. Both coaches emptied their benches for most of the fourth quarter.
The Raptors needed just two points from DeMar DeRozan, while Kyle Lowry delivered 15 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in just 27 minutes of action. The Raptors bench provided plenty of support outscoring the Hawks’ bench 56-38. The Hawks were again led by Schroder with 14 points but he managed just one assist while turning the ball over four times.
The only notable item for the Hawks in this game perhaps was the debut of Miles Plumlee in a Hawks’ uniform. After missing the Hawks first 19 contests, Plumlee saw fourth quarter action after the game was well out of hand.
The Hawks now have four days off before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday for the finale of the four game home stand. Stay tuned.