Notebook: Hawks 107, Raptors 88

Posted Mar 27, 2013 11:35 PM

Duane Watson, for

THE FACTS: The Atlanta Hawks (40-32) clinched a playoff berth for a sixth straight season with a 107-88 win over the Toronto Raptors (26-45) at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday. The Hawks finished strong outscoring the Raptors 63-34 in the second half, behind Al Horford's 26 points and 12 rebounds, 10 of which he scored in the fourth quarter. Jeff Teague added a double-double of 24 points and 13 assists, while Josh Smith chipped in 19 points.

The Raptors led for much of the first half, leading by as many as 11 points and took a 54-44 lead into halftime. The Hawks responded with a 12-5 run midway through the third to take their first lead since the break on a Smith's three-pointer to go ahead 71-69. The Raptors rallied back to close the seesaw quarter at 75-75. However, the Hawks went on a 16-0 run with 4:39 left, ten of those points scored by Teague while he assisted on two others, widening their lead to 97-80,

The Raptors had no answer and lost their fifth game in a row and 13 of 15 games versus the Hawks. Rookie Jonas Valanciunas led Toronto with 19 points and Rudy Gay added a15 point and 12 rebound double-double, back in the lineup after missing a game due to a sore back. DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points, while rookie Terrence Ross and Alan Anderson added 13 and 12 points off the bench respectively.

QUOTABLE: "Obviously we don't have the luxury to have a guy like Joe (Johnson), Joe could just come in and take over a game, now we have to do it more as a unit. Whether it's Josh (Smith) that it had it going earlier, or Jeff (Teague) or myself, we all have to do it at different times."
-- Hawks center Horford on late-game scoring

THE STAT: Two 30-plus quarters in the second half are going to win a ball game every time. To add that the Raptors could only muster 34 points to the Hawks 63, is proof that regardless of what statistical categories a team possess an edge in, the score tells the tale

TURNING POINT: As soon as the fourth quarter started the Hawks jumped out on a 22-5 run to take control of the game from a 75-75 tie, the Raptors laid down and the Hawks stepped on their necks. The tandem of Teague and Horford combined for 20 points and proved too much, making it an early night.

QUOTABLE II: "It feels special cause this is a group that no one really gave a chance. So for us to come together and be in the playoffs this year, is really exciting."
-- Hawks Guard Teague on the Hawks playoff berth.

HOT: Horford did it all for the Hawks, particularly when it counted. After tallying six points and six rebounds in the first half, he added another 20 points in the second, finishing the game with 12 rebounds.

NOT: The Raptors turned over the ball 20 times leading to 24 points for the Hawks, 12 of which occurred in the second half, Gay had five on his own.

GOOD MOVE: After DeRozan jumped out for 12 points in the first half, the Hawks threw mixes of Smith and Ivan Johnson on him defensively, neutralizing him and limiting him to one more basket for the remainder of the game.

NOTABLE: Raptors forward Amir Johnson left the game in the third quarter with a left leg contusion and did not return. Hawk guard Devin Harris was inactive, suffering from a sore left foot. The win was the Hawks second in a row for the season after defeating Toronto at home 93-92 on January 30. The Hawks are 2-1 on a four-game road trip that concludes in Boston on Friday.

UP NEXT: For the Raptors; Friday @ Detroit, Sunday @ Washington, Monday vs. Detroit. For the Hawks; Friday @ Boston, Saturday vs. Orlando and Monday vs. Cleveland.