The Hawks’ modest two-game win streak, which featured better defense, is over.
The Eastern Conference-leading Raptors came to town Wednesday night and put a 126-115 hurting on the Hawks. The Raptors scored 34, 30, 27 and 35 points by quarter.
The Hawks fell behind early and could never completely dig themselves out of the hole. They trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and tied the game three times in the third quarter but could never pull ahead.
Here are five observations from the game:
1. He didn’t say it or show it, but Lou Williams may have had an axe to grind against the Hawks for his offseason trade. Williams said this summer he expected to be moved based on exit interviews with general manager Danny Ferry and head coach Mike Budenholzer.
He made the Hawks pay.
Williams scored 22 points in 27 minutes off the bench. He was 6 of 11 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He also make all six free-throw attempts.
The Hawks also lost track of reserve Greivis Vasquez, who finished with 21 points. He was 8 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
In all, the Raptors bench outscored the Hawks bench 52-27.
“They got a huge boost from those two guys coming off the bench,” Budenholzer said. “They had a big impact on the game.”
2. The Hawks defense took a big step backward. After two solid games, including Friday’s effort against the Wizards, the Hawks were caught too many times out of position, allowed lane penetration or couldn’t stop fast breaks.
The Raptors outscored the Hawks 25-13 on the break.
“The fast breaks were a big part,” Al Horford said. “They outscored us on the break. We didn’t do a good job on the fast break. That was one of the differences.”
3. Rebounding was again an issue for the Hawks. They allowed the Raptors 11 offensive rebounds. That is far too many. The Raptors held a 17-9 advantage in second-chance points.
“When we did get stops, I think the biggest thing was we didn’t get the rebound,” DeMarre Carroll said. “We gave them second and third chances. A good team like that, they are number one in the East for a reason. You can’t give them two and three looks.”
4. The Hawks were warned of the Raptors ability to get to the free-throw line and still they sent them to the charity stripe 33 times. The Raptors made 28 of the freebies. That was another big issue for the Hawks.
“They got to the free-throw line, which is a strength of theirs,” Budenholzer said. “If they do it night after night after night, you have to be aware of it.”
5. This may go without saying, but Jeff Teague is on a tear. He finished with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds. Over the past four games, Teague is averaging 25.points and 6.0 assists. More to come on this Thursday.