Hawks show little life in loss to Raptors

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks were carrying their bags out of Philips Arena on Tuesday night, headed to the airport to fly to New York for their final game of the regular season against the Knicks. They didn't look particularly upset about having just been run off the court by the Toronto Raptors in a 113-96 loss.
The goal going into the game was to come out healthy and to get some rest. But there was a lack of competitiveness on display and Hawks coach Larry Drew wasn't thrilled about it.
"I thought we came out a little soft and played as if we were winding it down," he said. "My focus right now is to try to keep this team competing at a high level, which I didn't think we did in the first half."
The Hawks never led after the six-minute mark in the first quarter, when the score was 19-18, and they were down by 21 points at the end of the third quarter.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points to lead the Raptors and Rudy Gay had 22.
"They did a good job of having a rhythm offensively, finding their groove, taking what the game gave them," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "The ball moves; the game is finding them. They're doing a good job of reading off each other, feeding off each other."
Kyle Lowry had 11 assists to go with eight points, Amir Johnson had 11 points and eight rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas added 13 points and eight rebounds for Toronto (33-48).
The Raptors, playing for nothing but pride, shot 66.7 percent from the field in the first half to lead the Hawks 68-51, despite turning the ball over 11 times.
"We're playing freely," DeRozan said. "We're going out there and not thinking so much, playing with our abilities and instincts.
"We've got a lot of talent on this team. When we play like we played tonight, we're tough to beat. The only time we get in trouble is when we think so much on defense."
The Hawks (44-37) limited several players to moderate minutes.
Josh Smith, bothered by tendinitis in his knee, was shut down after 13 minutes with six points and three rebounds. Jeff Teague had four points and nine assists in 18 minutes.
Kyle Korver, who hit two 3-point shots in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game to extend his streak of games with at least one made 3-point shot to 73, was the only Hawks player in double figures after the first half with 10 points. He finished with 13.
Ivan Johnson had 12 points and 10 rebounds at the half.
NOTES: The Hawks were without Al Horford, who has been experiencing some soreness in his surgically repaired left pectoral muscle. He was scheduled to be examined by Dr. Xavier Duralde before the game. Duralde, who performed Horford's surgery, was coming over from the Atlanta Braves' game, where he was checking on the strained right oblique of first baseman Freddie Freeman. ... Horford traveled to New York after the game.. ... DeShawn Stevenson was also out for the Hawks. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he had a cold. ... Casey said he likes his team's recent focus, fight and togetherness. "This is the time of year, believe me, every coach in the league is pulling their hair out, whether they're in the playoffs or not," Casey said. ... Valanciunas was back in the starting lineup for the Raptors. He had missed two games with a flexion extension (whiplash) in his neck.

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