RECAP: Hawks 107, Raptors 88

Bo Churney —  March 28, 2013

FINAL

   TOR(26-45) 88 – 107 (40-32)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 24 pts, 4 reb, 13 ast
J. Valanciunas (TOR): 19 pts, 8 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

PLAYOFFS?!? The Hawks officially clinched their sixth consecutive playoff berth with this victory over the Raptors, a streak that is currently the longest active one in the Eastern Conference. After a very sub-par first half, the Hawks responded out of halftime, outscoring Toronto 63-34 after halftime. This effort was mostly seen in the fourth quarter, where the Hawks used a 16-0 run to pull away and seal the game. Both Al Horford and Jeff Teague had 10 points in the final period, and Josh Smith was able to sit the entire fourth quarter thanks to the effort of his teammates.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Some people are probably going to look way too hard into Josh not playing in the fourth quarter, but the fact is that LD stuck to what would have been his normal substitutions, and figured out that he didn’t need Josh when the team was up by 20. Otherwise, Josh didn’t have a great night, but he didn’t have a bad one either. He helped tie the game after that halftime deficit with his 10 third quarter points and he played great defense like he almost always does. 7.5/10

Al Horford: Al registered his 41st double-double on the season, which is in the top five in the NBA. He had 26 and 12 on the night, but I think the thing I was most impressed with was his passing, even though he only had one assist. He was pulling some Smoove-like passes out of the paint, and it’s a shame that the guys weren’t able to hit for him. Quietly, Josh and Al have both crept up into the top 25 in scoring. 9.5/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff was extremely aggressive, but he wasn’t exactly finishing well in the paint. However, because the Raptors had to respect his driving abilities, Jeff got great looks on his jumpers, and was able to connect on four of his six shots outside the paint, including back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth quarter. The Teague-Horford two-man game dominated in the 2nd half, as five of Teague’s eight 2nd half assists went to Al. Of course, the Cherry on top of Jeff’s night: only one turnover. 10/10

Anthony Tolliver: Tolliver seemed relatively quiet in his 26 minutes, which isn’t to say he played badly. He scored the team’s last five points in the second quarter, which could have prevented a disaster from happening had the Hawks been down 15 at the break. However, he just seemed to be “out there” a lot, and didn’t actually contribute much else. 6/10

Kyle Korver: This game could have gotten out of hand extremely quickly if Kyle had made his shots in the first quarter. He missed his first FIVE from the field, all of which were good looks set up by his teammates. He did make three of his next four, though, including two three-pointers to extend his streak to 65 games with a three-pointer. 5.5/10

Ivan Johnson: Good thing Ivan does yoga, because I’m not sure I could have done that split he did in the first half, all while firing the assist to John Jenkins for the easy two. (it was number four on Sportscenter’s top plays, by the way) This might have been one of Ivan’s best games of the year, as he played 34 minutes (I know, right!) and finished with nine points, six rebounds, and four assists. He also had some great defensive stops out on the perimeter and was a team-high plus-30 on the night. I could get used to this… 7/10

John Jenkins: I kept waiting for Jenkins to come back into the game in the second half, but he only got a small amount of playing time at the end of the fourth. He made all four of his shots, including that layup on the pass from Ivan. He probably could have gotten more than 11 minutes of playing time, but I’ll get to that later. 6/10

DeShawn Stevenson: Here’s why you don’t rely on single-game plus/minus too much: DeShawn was a plus-22 on the night, but he missed all four of his shots and really did nothing on the offensive end. He just happened to be in the game when Teague and Horford exploded. To give him some credit, he was able to bother Gay, Anderson, and DeRozan on the Raptors to keep them from evening the score in the fourth quarter. 4/10

Shelvin Mack: I like him as the 3rd PG on this team a lot more than Jannero Pargo, mainly because he appears to at least be competent defensively. Of course, I’ll like him a lot more when Devin comes back, because it means he won’t be turning the ball over three times in 13 minutes. 4/10

Johan Petro, Dahntay Jones, and Mike Scott: All played an insignificant amount of minutes. You know the drill. INC/10

Larry Drew: Drew did the smart thing in this game: when he got a lineup that was hot, he stuck with it and kept running the same plays that were getting the team buckets. Josh Smith and John Jenkins certainly could have been in this game for more minutes, but there was no reason for this to happen when you’re killing the opposing defense with Jeff-Al pick-and-rolls and you’re on a huge run. Credit to Drew for not caving in and feeling like he has to play Josh in the fourth quarter, just because. 9/10

The opposition: I think my biggest problem with this team is that Kyle Lowry seemed extremely underused in this game. He’s a great passer and a more than capable shooter, so it seems silly that he would only take five shots while DeRozan, Gay, and Anderson get to take as many as they want. Valanciunas was getting good position in the post, so I’m unsure why they didn’t try going to a two-man game here, especially knowing that Teague isn’t the greatest defender. In the end, they lost because their volume-shooters regressed to the mean after a lights-out first half. Perhaps trying something different could have changed that. 3/10

 

Next: Atlanta at Boston, Friday, March 29th

Bo Churney

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