An absolutely atrocious fourth quarter was the difference on Wednesday night as the playoff-bound Hawks took care of business in Toronto, clinching a playoff berth in the process.
Here are some brief thoughts on the game…
-The fourth quarter was a disaster for Toronto. The score was 75-75 to begin the final frame and the Hawks embarrassed Toronto at both ends of the floor for 12 minutes. Toronto’s aggressive nature from the first half disappeared – Al Horford and Jeff Teague got whatever they wanted in the pick-and-roll. On offence, everything seemed to be running through Alan Anderson, which resulted in a lot of contested jump shots. The Raptors shot 5-of-20 from the field in the fourth, while allowing Atlanta to shoot 13-of-19.
-Credit goes to Rudy Gay, who is dealing with back spasms – among other things – but came out of the gate with a complete effort. He was aggressive on offense early in the game (5/9 FG in first half), tied a season-high with 12 boards and competed on the defensive end, even protecting the rim as a power forward.
-We’ve talked about this before, but Gay has a very bad habit of complaining too much about calls. Every single NBA player believes they don’t get a fair shake from the referees, butRudy spends far too much time glaring at the officials when he should be running back on defence.
-At times, the game appears to come very easily to Terrence Ross, and at times he makes it look way harder than it should be. Towards the end of the second quarter, Ross gave a quick head fake and blew past his defender for an open jam. Then in the third quarter he showed how quickly he can elevate on the fast break (video below). In the fourth quarter (where he received 8+ minutes), he became passive in the offence and his lack of dribbling ability was exposed.
-Amir Johnson was having another productive game until he was injured early in the third quarter and limped to the locker room…
Amir Johnson sustained a left leg contusion in the 3rd quarter. X-rays were negative.. He will not return. #Raptors
— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) March 28, 2013
-Jonas Valanciunas is more impressive every time he steps on the floor. He went toe-to-toe with Atlanta’s all-star Al Horford. JV showed a variety of hook shots that he was not comfortable using early in the season. In the first half, he was backing down Horford at will. Horford is an undersized defender, but he plays with very good positioning. The 19 points were the second most Valanciunas has scored this season. Fans will be happy with the 8+ minutes he received in both the third and fourth quarters.
-Alan Anderson needs to hold clinics to teach DeMar DeRozan, Ross and Gay his jab-step. Anderson has the worst foot speed of any Toronto wing player and yet he gets to the basket with ease because of that killer jab-step and the counter moves that accompany it. Having said that, it by no means excuses his poor shot selection, which was also prevalent on Wednesday. Anderson was 5-of-13 from the field and had a 2-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Hawks Player of the Game: Jeff Teague – 24 Pts, 9/15 FG, 3/4 3pt, 3-3 FT, 4 Reb, 13 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO in 34:44
Raptors Player of the Game: Jonas Valanciunas – 19 Pts, 8/11 FG, 3-4 FT, 8 Reb, 1 Blk, 2 TO in 31:34