Valanciunas posts double-double, Raptors crush Hawks 108-93
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 25, 2018 11:16 AM
Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas, left, of Lithuania, grabs a rebound from Atlanta Hawks' John Collins during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Atlanta, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. Toronto won 108-93. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
By Charles Odum, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the rested Toronto Raptors used strong 3-point shooting to beat the Atlanta Hawks 108-93 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Playing in their first game since Saturday’s (Sunday, PHL time) loss at Minnesota, Toronto made 14 three-pointers, including eight in the first half. The Raptors improved to 25-6 when making at least 10 three's this season.
Fred VanVleet added 19 points off the bench and All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan had 14 as Toronto moved to 3-0 against Atlanta this season. The Raptors won the first two games of the season series by an average of 23.5 points and were even more dominant in the third of four matchups between the teams.
Dennis Schroder led Atlanta with 20 points. John Collins had 13 points and career-high 16 rebounds, and Kent Bazemore also had 13 points.
The Raptors had good reason to feel comfortable. They arrived in Atlanta on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) and conducted two practices which coach Dwane Casey described before the game as “excellent.”
Still, Casey wasn’t sure what to expect following the unusually long rest.
“It’s an unknown,” Casey said before the game. “Hopefully it’s good, the break is good, but sometimes rust is something else, too, when you get out of game rhythm.”
The Raptors, who entered 1.5 games behind Boston in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, showed no rust. Toronto was never threatened after it stretched its lead to 17-6 with an 11-0 run, capped by Serge Ibaka’s three-pointer, in the first quarter.
Every Toronto starter was held under 30 minutes as Casey made good use of his bench.
Officials ruled no flagrant foul after Schroder had contact with Kyle Lowry in the third quarter, knocking Lowry to the floor.
Raptors: Valanciunas reached double-double status with his rebound and jam midway through the third period. ... VanVleet finished three points shy of his career high of 22 points against Cleveland on Jan. 11. ... The Raptors coasted despite their two All-Stars, DeRozan and Lowry, combining to make only 7-of-22 shots. Lowry had nine points while making 3-of-10 shots.
Hawks: F DeAndre Bembry is expected to miss another one to three weeks after an MRI revealed a left adductor strain. He suffered the groin strain on Jan. 5 (Jan. 6, PHL time). ... Collins will represent the U.S. team in the Rising Stars game as part of All-Star weekend on Feb. 16 (Feb. 17, PHL time) in Los Angeles. Collins is averaging 10.6 points and 6.9 rebounds and has made 59 percent of his shots from the field. ... Schroder matched his career-high with eight rebounds.
The biggest cheer of the night from the home fans came in the final minute. The Hawks offered every fan a free Chick-fil-A sandwich if a visiting player missed two straight free throws. Lucas Nogueira delivered with two misses for Toronto, earning an unexpected ovation.
Raptors: Host Utah on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).
Hawks: Visit Charlotte on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).