The Raptors' 13th straight loss was like so many other we've seen during this recent swoon. A slow start, waves of strong play just strong enough to get them back within spitting distance and ultimately not enough in the tank on either end of the floor to grab a lead and sustain it after 48 minutes.
On Wednesday, the Raptors we still hanging around in the fourth down 84-78 with 7:30 to play before the Hawks rattled off 12 straight points, including back-to-back three-pointers and it was over.
No team makes the Raptors pick their poison quite like the Hawks of late and it was Joe Johnson putting up huge numbers on Wednesday. Johnson dropped a season-high 37 points (15-21 FGM-A), using his size in the post and balancing that with his deadly touch from beyond the arc. His eight assists were just a sample of how well the Hawks shared the ball as a team.
"It was fun out there tonight," said Johnson. "We pretty much dictated how we wanted the game to be played. We had a mental lapse in the second half. We were able to pick it back up and close the game out"
Amir Johnson deserves a lot of credit for raising his game again (20 points, 8-11 FGM-A, 14 rebounds and two blocks) and remains this team's most consistent player.
He's played in every game for the Raps this season (only DeMar DeRozan can say the same) and seen his numbers steadily rise to their current averages of 10 ppg and 6.4 ppg. Despite his back woes, Johnson also remains unafraid to battle inside, which is what this team so desperately needs as its offence fights through this funk.
"Joe Johnson really had it going today, and we just didn’t have an answer for him. They surround him with great shooters and that makes them really tough to guard. Their other guys made shots tonight along with Joe. They have two or three All-Stars on the team. However, we have to keep playing and trying to improve. Nobody is happy after this performance. We have to get right back at it tomorrow in practice. We’re giving really good effort, but it’s not being rewarded."
- Jay Triano, on the loss
Fri., Feb. 4 @ Minnesota
7:00 PM ET, TSN, FAN590
With this nightmarish stretch of road games behind them, the schedule turns somewhat for the Raptors, beginning Friday against the Wolves. They'll play just 10 more games in February with eight of them coming within the confines of ACC. The Wolves whipped the Raps 107-83 in Minneapolis back on Jan. 29.
|30||Assists on 42 made field goals for the Hawks|
|1-5||Three-point shooting for the Raptors|
|18-6||Free throws made favouring the Raptors|
|9||Double-doubles on the season for Amir Johnson|
|10||Double-doubles on the season for Jose Calderon|
|"I didn’t play my best tonight, and we didn’t play our best as a team either."|
- Jose Calderon on his team's performance
|"I think we’re doing a good job of moving around and getting into our spots offensively. Everything we’re running, I think our guys are reading defenses."|
- Hawks head coach Larry Drew on his team's passing
|"We are fighting each night, but when you’re playing against a good team and you lose concentration, they make a run and then you’re in trouble."|
- Andrea Bargnani, on the Raptors' slide