Toronto Raptors Crush Atlanta to Avenge Loss


Toronto Raptors Crush Atlanta to Avenge Loss

The Toronto Raptors showed the whole NBA that they aren’t just another team in the Eastern Conference– and just maybe they are the team in the East– by blowing out the conference’s best team by a score of 105-80 in their first game after the All-Star break. One quarter of Atlanta’s losses this season have come against Toronto.

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The Raptors had a surprising show on defense– or Atlanta surprised with their offensive ineptitude. Nevertheless, Toronto recorded 15 steals and nine blocks in a total block party (the third quarter notably). The Raptors picked up points off turnovers they forced and used this as a catalyst for their offense, which hit 43.3% of their three-point attempts. The Raptors affirmed that GM Masai Ujiri’s (below) tactic of staying pat with the team’s current roster was perhaps the proper course of action.

Sep 29, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri during a media scrum at Raptors Media Day at The Real Sports Bar Toronto. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

It was a statement game for the Raptors: “We were embarrassed on our homecourt (Jan. 26, when Atlanta won 110-89 and led 52-38 at half), so we wanted to come out with that on our mind,” said Raptors sixth man Lou Williams. Williams was the star of the game, and led the Raps in scoring with 26 points off the bench. Williams was dialed in all night, once again, making shots that seemed to have no business going in. Sweet Lou hit 9/14 from the field, which is excellent in itself, but made 7/10 from three-point range, which is astounding. However, one of the most telling stats was that former Atlanta Hawk and Georgia high school product was a +23 while on the court.

Feb 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) shoots a jump shot against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors resumed their roll pre-All-Star break where they had won three straight, including wins over formidable opponents such as the L.A. Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, and Washington Wizards. These are teams that aren’t easy, and the Raptors showed the NBA that maybe they are for real– really.

DeMar DeRozan (right) showed a lengthy All-Star break helped him tonight as he scored the Raptors first eight points out of the gate. In total, Derozan dropped 21 points and recovered eight boards.

The Raptors showed an extreme team-effort, dropping 27 assists.

Toronto better not celebrate their convincing victory too hard because in less than 24 hours, they face another stalwart, the Houston Rockets (Harden, pictured right).

Feb 14, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the 2015 NBA All Star Three Point Contest competition at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t get any easier for the Raps even after this, as in this seven-day stretch, they face Houston in a back-to-back after Atlanta, spend Sunday traveling to New Orleans before facing the Pelicans on Monday (who defeated Toronto last time). Here they complete another back-to-back, again completing part two in Texas, this time at Dallas.

Finally, they get to come home on the 27th where they welcome in the first-place Golden State Warriors. Oh, but then, that’s apart of another back-to-back where they have to travel to New York and face the Knicks the next day.

It’s a tough stretch for the Raptors, but they are 4-0 currently on their stretch of elite competition.