(Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)
Hawks 118, Raptors 110
Tonight the Raptors hosted the Atlanta Hawks, who are currently in the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference. This was the perfect opportunity for the Raptors to test their mettle against a playoff-bound team. After being mathematically eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the New York Knicks this past Sunday via a 112-103 home loss, I think we all wondered what kind of effort the Raptors would display from here on out in the regular season. Well I believe our question has been answered.
Raptors coach Jay Triano appears to be staying with the expected starter rotation and the average minutes for the starters stayed in the 30 - 38 minute range. The Raptors gave a solid overall effort and didn't quit. Atlanta was up 1, 85-84, going into the 4th, and it was pretty much even until the final three minutes of the game. At that point, Atlanta widened the lead and didn't relenquish it. 118-110 win for the Hawks.
Jose Calderon continues to play extremely balanced and efficient basketball, he scored 16 points, including 3-5 from 3, 13 assists and only 2 turnovers. He also stepped it up a notch on the defensive end of the floor with 3 steals and 2 blocks! Chris Bosh continued to be Mr. Consistency posting another double-double, going for 21 points (10-12 from the field!) and 10 rebounds, and added 2 blocks for good measure. For the Hawks, Joe Johnson continued to play at his All-Star and all-around form contributing 25 points (9 of 22 from the field, and 3-5 from 3), 6 boards, 6 dimes, and 2 steals.
- Quincy Douby was a sharp shooter - hitting some big shots, and converting some great 2nd chance efforts in the paint on the offensive end. He ended up going 4-5 from the field for 9 points, 2 boards (both offensive), and 2 dimes - in only 8:58 of PT! Talk about efficiency!
- Flip Murray was a spark off of ATL's bench. He went 5-12 from the field, 3 dimes, and 2 steals in 28 minutes of quality time.
- With only 5 games left, it appears Jay Triano is doing his best to get the entire Raptors roster some playing time. There was a longer than usual Patrick O'Bryant sighting - he played 16:22 and scored 4 points and pulled down 4 boards. The post game sentiment was that he could have been more agressive on the glass. I guess we'll see if he improves on that over the remaining games.
- Interestingly, Atlanta's Josh Smith decided to take more 3s than usual. He went 3-5 from behind the arc. Is this just taking some liberites vs. a non-playoff team? Or a sign of things to come...?
- The Hawks' Marvin Williams didn't play in the game tonight as he continues to nurse a back injury that has kept him sidelined for the past month. His availability for the playoffs is still unknown.
- Pops Mensah-Bonsu has only been averaging about 6 minutes in the past 4 games. We'll see if he gets more opportunities over the remaining 5 games for Toronto.