The Raptors are heading into the All-Star break on a high, as they close out the unofficial first half of the season 28-24. After floundering towards the end of the West Coast swing, we hoped the Raptors would be able to get on track with 2 very winnable games at home. The win against New Orleans was pretty lacklustre, and the Raptors undoubtedly needed a better effort to overcome a solid, well-coached Atlanta Hawks squad.
In the first quarter, we saw some of the same lethargic play that plagued the Raptors against the Pelicans. Shots that usually go down just wouldn't, and fortunately for the Raptors, the Hawks had their own struggles offensively to keep the game from getting out of hand. The Raptors shot 7-24 in the Q, but only trailed 24-19 going into the second quarter. The bench was very good for the Raptors in the 2nd frame, as they turned things around and rode a couple of big Terrence Ross 3s and some big Greivis Vasquez buckets to take a 45-44 lead at the break.
The game was alot closer than it should've been at that point. The Raptors absolutely went bonkers in the 2nd half, outscoring the Hawks 59-39. It was nice to see the offence clicking so well for the first time in a month or so. DeMar DeRozan had a nice game, finishing with 31 points. Steven Novak did a good job of stretching the floor, as he hit some timely 3s to help the Raptors stretch the lead out. As the game got out of hand, we saw a hilarious sequence of Austin Daye (who I hadn't seen in months) missing 3 pointers, showing us all why he's been riding the pine. Good W for the Raptors, and now a well-deserved break as we kick back and enjoy All Star Weekend.
- DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan put on a showcase of what's made him an All Star this year. While he had his fair share of hilarious dribbling mistakes, his shot-making ability is a necessity for this squad so long as he's being assertive and aggressive. 11-19 shooting, 31 points.
- Patrick Patterson: He's a completely different player from what we expected him to be based on his time in Sacramento. He's everything we wanted Andrea Bargnani to be. Although he's very clearly a stretch 4, he's willing to mix it up in the paint as well. His toughness makes him valuable even if he has rough shooting nights like tonight. 6-15, 8 boards, 14 points
- Jonas Valanciunas: I feel bad for putting him here because he was still giving 100% effort. But anytime your starting Center goes 1-9, he earns himself a place on "The Bad" list. Full credit for the 14 rebounds (5 offensive), but hopefully we see few shooting nights like these.