Toronto Raptors Vs. Atlanta Hawks
Thursday, January 25, 2018
“Welcome to Atlanta where the players play..”
-Jermaine Dupris & Ludacris said it best back in 2001.
The Raptors spent a couple of days in ATL during a 3-day break visiting Dennis Schroder and the Hawks. The Raps are looking to catch up to the first place team in the Eastern Conference – the Celtics - which would help bring their record to 32-14 - the 4th best record in the NBA.
It’s Friends & Family night at the Philips Arena. I have to tell you though - watching the game, it didn't seem like their friends or family really cared too much as there were an abundance of empty seats, with only 12,780 in attendance. Truthfully, the mood and atmosphere had more of a scrimmage vibe at the local community court than an NBA game.
Although the game started off slow, all-star starter, Demar DeRozan went into this game averaging 27.6 pts & 5.6 assists. Towards the end of the first quarter, he contributed to an 8-0 run with 5:30 left giving the Raps a lead of 8 pts.
The Raptors were strong, composed and confident through the second quarter, leading by 18pts at the half, making it 58-40. This confidence may have gotten Schroder little frustrated as the 3rd quarter began when he picked up a foul for aggressively trying to swat the ball away from Kyle Lowry. The two PG’s had a few words for one another, but by no means was it as physical as it has been in recent NBA games. By that point, the Raptors had extended the lead by 22pts.
Someone who really came alive in the 3rd quarter was Fred Van Fleet of the Raptors who put up 19pts, 7reb, 5ast in just 19 minutes! Fred is really finding his groove on the team and had some fun tonight. Even “The Human Highlight Film” Dominque Wilkins noticed his efforts.
The Raps were modest and had this game in the bag from early on - putting up more than 20ast by the final buzzer. This will give the guys a boost of confidence heading into Friday’s game versus Donovan Mitchell (my pick for Rookie Of The Year), and the rest of the Jazz who will be in town Friday January, 26, @ 7:00pm.
I’d like to point out that Coach Casey is just ONE win away from earning the spot to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars on February 18TH in LA!
Raptors 108 - 93 Hawks