RaptorsHQ Rapid Recap - Atlanta Hawks 93 - Toronto Raptors 84


-For the third straight game, the Toronto Raptors fought and clawed at their more talented adversary but could not close things out. In previous losses to Indiana and Chicago we saw the team struggle in the fourth quarter, and this afternoon was deja-vu all over again, as the Dinos scored only 13 fourth quarter points en route to a 93 to 84 loss.

-Even though the Raps had no answer for Josh Smith (28 points on 13 of 19 shooting to go with 15 rebounds) and Joe Johnson abused his defenders to the tune of 27 himself, Toronto kept this one fairly close, repeatedly overcoming 10 point deficits to cut the lead to a couple baskets. Leading the hustle was the tandem of Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, who between them grabbed half the team's rebounds (21 of 42) and made a number of plays to keep Toronto's hopes at a W alive.

-But all the hustle in the world couldn't overcome Toronto's offensive woes, especially late in the game. After shooting over 50 per cent from the field at the half, the club slowly stopped making shots and by the time the fourth quarter was nearly done, the club's FG% had sunk to 42 per cent. How bad was it? Well, it took a good five minutes for the Raps to hit their first field goal of the quarter and after that the club only converted on five of its shots, and failed to get to the free-throw line.

-Indeed it's pretty tough to win games with stats like that, and even tougher when again, your supposed go-to guy is invisible. DeMar DeRozan finished with a measly 10 points on horrific 5 of 17 shooting, and his only "stand-out" moment was the technical he needlessly picked up in the second half. Leandro Barbosa had his third straight big game scoring-wise with 22, but it was not enough to counter-balance the shooting of DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Rasual Butler and Gary Forbes, who went a combined 10 of 35.

-The Raps now head to Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday night and while the C's haven't exactly looked like their usual selves, this game won't be an easy one by any stretch of the imagination and here's hoping that Andrea Bargnani, James Johnson and Jerryd Bayless are ready to return.

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