The Hawks returned from the All-Star break with a giant thud. They dropped a 105-80 decision to the Raptors Friday for only their fourth home loss of the season. The Hawks shot a season-worst 33 percent (29 of 88) from the floor.
Here are my five observations from the game:
1. The third quarter was a train wreck. The Hawks scored just 13 points by shooting a dismal 15.8 percent (3 of 19). Good thing they made 7 of 10 free throws. They missed all eight 3-point attempts, five by Kyle Korver. They committed nine turnovers, had five shots blocked and had just one assist. The Hawks entered the quarter trailing by just four points and exited trailing by 19. A season-high tying 23 turnovers in the game didn’t help.
2. As bad as the offensive numbers were for the Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer was much more concerned with the lack of defense. The Raptors shot 44.8 percent (43 of 96) from the field.
I think there are some nights when you are not going to make shots,” Budenholzer said. “That’s what we’ve said, that you’ve got to be better defensively on those nights. You have to rely on your defense when you are not making shots. I don’t think we were good on the defensive end of the court. I’m probably more concerned with the shots they were getting, the open looks they were getting, the second shots they were getting, the loose balls they were getting. I think the offense, at least tonight, was not our biggest concern.”
3. The Hawks have lost four games at home this season – to the Lakers, Bucks and twice to the Raptors. The losses to the Bucks in December and to the Raptors Friday were by 30 and 25 points, respectively. Only a 33-point loss at the Cavaliers was worse.
4. Lou Williams haunted his old team. The South Gwinnett High product, who spent three seasons with the Hawks, averaged 15.2 points a game in the four meetings this season. The Raptors reserve guard had a game-high 26 points Friday, including a 7 of 10 from 3-point range night. The seven made 3-pointers was a career-high for Williams. For another night, Philips Arena was LouWillville.
5. For all the talk about the Hawks weaknesses against big opposing centers, Raptors’ seven-footer Jonas Valanciunas has been ineffective in the season series. He had just eight points Friday. He had just 40 points against the Hawks this season, including 12 combined in the past two games. He did pull down 34 combined rebounds, including 13 Friday. Overall, the Hawks and Raptors each finished with 52 rebounds Friday. It was a season-high in total and offensive (17) rebounds for the Hawks.