The Atlanta Hawks were back at it Friday night when they ventured to Toronto to face off against an elite Toronto Raptors team that has been fantastic at home this season. The Hawks have been cautiously optimistic of their play lately as they’ve won two consecutive games coming into tonight.
Atlanta’s inactives for Friday’s game included Dewayne Dedmon who has been sidelined with a stress reaction in his left tibia and could be out possibly another week. Mike Muscala is on a rehab assignment in the G League with his ankle injury but is expected to return soon.
The Hawks came out right from the start of the game blazing hot with Taurean Prince bathed in flames early on. The Raptors got some good play in the first from their center Jonas Valanciunas. The Hawks closed the quarter well with some good minutes from rookie big man John Collins but took an 8-point deficit into the second 30-22.
In the second quarter, the Hawks played somewhat slow and the Raptors seemed to really take advantage, especially with the Hawks big men struggling to run the floor. DeMar DeRozan saw most of the Raptors offense flow through him late in the quarter as they continued to run and push the ball at every opportunity and the Hawks could not keep up as they took a 62-47 hole into the locker room.
The third quarter saw the Hawks clamp down on their defense more as the Raptors were not getting much from their point guard Kyle Lowry. For the road team, it was Prince who really carried the offense all night and made some pretty absurd shots in the third quarter to keep the Hawks within shouting distance going into the fourth down 88-69.
In the fourth, Atlanta played some really inspiring basketball with Prince continuing his torrid scoring from beyond the arc. Role players Marco Belinelli and Tyler Cavanaugh came in and gave the Hawks some really nice minutes to give the starters some rest. Ersan Ilyasova continued his good play in the latter part of the quarter but it was simply too little too late for the Hawks as they went on to take their first loss in three games.
In the loss, Taurean Prince had a tremendous night with a career high 30 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks will be back at it on Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers at home.