Ed Davis and the Raptors came ready to play at both ends of the court. The Hawks, did not.
A winning record for the Toronto Raptors in April? Yes, that's indeed been the case but the HQ notes that it's hard to find much fault in the Dinos. Their opponents simply are making it tough for Toronto to lose.
Just when you think you've seen everything this season, this is happening.
"This," as in the Raptors are suddenly 5 AND 4 IN APRIL.
Yep, when the team is supposed to be upping their chances at Anthony Davis, they're in fact doing the exact opposite in spite of what most folks would normally refer to as some "tankish behaviour."
I mean they traded away their top bench scorer, sat two of their biggest point getters for the rest of the season, and have been without their floor general for their last two games, both, wins over good teams. Last night's win came at the expense of the Hawks, who barely showed up in a 102 to 86 loss, as the Raps led wire to wire, despite being about as close to a D League squad personnel wise as possible.
And yet if you watched the game, you can hardly blame the Raptors.
Maybe at a larger philosophical level you can, as in "the Raps should be ensuring every game is a loss, even if that means having Dwane Casey take a leave of absence," but in reality, the club is simply playing some very good basketball, and their opponents are not.
Seriously, the Celtics looked disinterested Friday night but flicked the switch late to give Toronto a run.
The Hawks last night?
Just how bad was this loss for the Hawks? Let's examine...
- The Hawks never took the lead in this game.
- They lost to a bad road team at home.
- They lost to a team that was missing 3 key players.
- They get blown out by a team that isn't playing for anything.
- They most likely killed their chances for the 3rd seed.
- They lost to a team that they had beaten the last 6 times.
- They are now 3 games behind the Indiana Pacers.
- They lose their current homecourt advantage vs. the Celtics.
- They lose their 1 game lead they had on the Orlando Magic
Yeah, not good.
And that's what struck me as odd when watching this one last night. I mean, it's not like the Hawks had nothing to play for. This wasn't a team that was already locked into a playoff spot.
Add on the fact that the Raptors always have a tough time with the Hawks (they've lost their last ten matches against the Hawks when Joe Johnson starts) and it was a bit of a bizarre experience to sit and watch Toronto completely dismantle ATL.
The win always raises some inevitable and interesting questions.
- Does this club play better without Andrea Bargnani?
- Does DeMar DeRozan play better without Jose Calderon, able to play to more of his "non-half-court strengths?"
- Are superior clubs simply playing inferior basketball against the Raptors, assuming easy wins?
- Has Dwane Casey found an optimum mix in terms of current personnel rotations?