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Raptors Keep It Rolling With Road Win Over Hawks

Related: Box Score | Photo Gallery | Blog: Top #RTZ Tweets
Top Plays: Anderson Strikes Again | Good End To First Half | Davis The Trailer
Post Game: Game Highlights | Casey | DeRozan | Anderson | J.Johnson | Uzoh | Anderson & Leo

April 15, 2012

ATLANTA (CP) Long out of the playoff race, the Toronto Raptors are now playing the role of spoilers.

DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and the injury-riddled Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks 102-86 on Sunday night for their second straight win over a playoff-bound team.

Toronto coach Dwane Casey couldn't explain when asked how his team was managing to win now with three players on 10-day contracts while stars Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless are on the injury list.

``Believe me, if I knew I'd bottle it and we would've been doing it earlier in the year,'' Casey said. ``Guys are just playing the right way, playing together, playing with a purpose. You've got guys who don't want to go down without a fight.''

Alan Anderson added 16 points for the Raptors, who were coming off an 84-79 win against Boston on Friday. Ben Uzoh and rookie Justin Dentmon scored 10 points each. Anderson, Uzoh and Dentmon all have 10-day contracts that will expire Monday, when the teams play in Toronto.

Toronto, which shot 55 per cent (41 for 74) from the field, never trailed and dealt Atlanta a big blow in its bid to get the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

``Very flat,'' said Hawks coach Larry Drew. ``The energy level was very low.''

  RAPTORS REMARKS

"Atlanta is one of the top teams in the NBA and we just came out tonight and outperformed them. What we’ve been fighting for all year is consistency, and tonight we played the right way and played together."
-- Dwane Casey, on the win
"We had just had to come out aggressive. Throw the first punch for the rest of the season. Every game we've got to go out swinging. That's our whole mindset. We're just trying to finish off strong." "
-- DeMar DeRozan, on the approach for the final stretch
"(Ed) Davis really pumped me up tonight as well, he encouraged me. It’s really important to know that your teammates have your back, and I would have his anytime as well."
-- James Johnson, on his big fourth quarter

Josh Smith scored 12 of his 26 points in the first quarter for the Hawks, who routed the Magic 109-81 Friday for their fourth win in five games.

Anderson, a former Michigan State star who played with the Bobcats in 2005-06, spent several seasons in Europe before averaging 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists while with the D-League's Canton Charge prior to his Toronto callup.

He looked comfortable in the first half when he scored 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including 3 for 3 on 3-pointers. He made two 3s in the final minutes of the second quarter as Toronto closed the first half with a 12-2 run.

Anderson is averaging 8.4 points while shooting 44 per cent and 51.5 per cent from beyond the 3-point arc.

``Coach keeps saying, 'Make the extra pass; share the ball.' We're passing up good shots for great shots,'' Anderson said. ``Everybody wants to stay in the NBA.''

Trailing by 14 at halftime, Atlanta opened the third quarter with a 15-6 run to pull to 59-54 on Kirk Hinrich's layup with 6:29 left in the period. However, Toronto scored the next seven points -- five by DeRozan -- and the Hawks never got closer than seven points again.

James Johnson's 20-foot jumper gave Toronto its biggest lead, 94-70, with 4:22 left in the game. He finished with 15 points for the Raptors, who also got 10 points from reserve forward Ed Davis.

Ivan Johnson had 14 points and seven rebounds for Atlanta, and Willie Green also scored 14.

``I think this is a game we need to think about,'' Green said. ``We're supposed to be betting prepared for a playoff run. It was a letdown tonight on our part.''

The Hawks (35-25) are tied with the Magic for the No. 5 spot in the East, and Atlanta owns the tiebreaker.

  BY THE NUMBERS

22 Wins on the season for the Raptors, matching last year's total
46-28 Points in the paint favouring the Raptors
11 3-pointers from Alan Anderson in his last 3.5 games
24 Biggest lead of the night for the Raptors
.554 Shooting percentage from the field for the Raptors

Boston is one-half game up at No. 4, but if the Celtics and Hawks end up tied, Boston will get the nod by virtue of winning its division and winning the season series against Atlanta.

The third-place Pacers are three games ahead of the Hawks.

Toronto made 20-of-34 shots (59 per cent) in the first half on the way to a 53-39 lead. DeRozan had 15 points in the half,and Anderson added 14.

Atlanta was at 34 per cent (14 for 41), with Smith account for half of the made shots at 7 for 12. All-Star guard Joe Johnson was just 1 for 8 before finishing with seven points on 2-for-12 shooting.

NOTES: The Hawks were missing their top two centres -- Al Horford (torn pectoral muscle) and Zaza Pachulia (sprained left foot) -- and backup Jason Collins contributed just one point and one rebound in five-plus minutes. Atlanta was outscored 46-28 in the paint.