DeRozan, Raptors beat Hawks to stay hot at home
TORONTO —There is nothing like a return to the Air Canada Centre to cure what might be ailing the Toronto Raptors.
After losing their previous two games on the road, and not looking good doing it, the Raptors returned home Friday night to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 111-98 behind 25 points and five assists from DeMar DeRozan.
The Raptors are 13-1 at the Air Canada Centre this season, including 11 straight wins. The franchise record for consecutive home wins is 12 set Jan. 18-March 4, 2016.
“We just came bounding back after two tough games on the road, where we were kind of out of rhythm and out of sorts,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “I thought we tried to come back, tried to get our rhythm with only a shootaround.”
Toronto (24-10) carried a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter against Atlanta (9-26), which had won two in a row for the first time this season entering Friday.
The Hawks cut the deficit to 13 on a 3-pointer by Tyler Cavanaugh with 8:30 to play. The lead was down to 10 on a layup by Ersan Ilyasova with 3:42 left.
DeRozan’s jumper had Toronto ahead by 11 with 1:04 to play.
“It’s a team that’s coming off a couple of losses and I think they picked up their energy and aggressiveness,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “For a lot of the second half, I liked the way we competed. I like the way we played. We got it to 10. ... I think the competitiveness and the effort in the second half was good.”
Kyle Lowry added 12 points and five assists, Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Delon Wright contributed 13 points off the bench. Jakob Poeltl added six points and 10 rebounds.
“It’s what good teams do,” Lowry said. “You don’t let a couple of losses set you back from your long- long term goal. It’s an NBA season, you’re going to have some ups and downs, but as as you keep the downs short and get back to the ups quickly, things will be fine.”
Taurean Prince scored a career-best 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Hawks.
“Taurean got better tonight,” Budenholzer said. “He’s a young player that’s growing with each night. A night like tonight, there’s a lot of positives, a lot of things to learn from and we’re pleased with the way he’s playing, and I think the 10 boards is huge.”
Dennis Schroder scored 14 points and had nine assists. Marco Belinelli scored 14 points and John Collins had 11 points and eight rebounds.
“They were hot in the first half,” Schroder said. “They hit some 3s and DeRozan went to the lane and hit his floaters and it was a tough game.”
“It’s always great to bounce back after a loss, especially two on the road,” DeRozan said. “To be able to come back home and get back into our groove of things and get that feeling of winning back. It feels good to come out here tonight and get a win.”
The Raptors led 30-22 after the first quarter and stretched the lead to 11 points when Norman Powell opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 3-pointer.
Toronto led by 18 with 1:13 left in the first half after C.J. Miles hit a 3-pointer.
The Raptors led 62-47 at halftime thanks to 15 points from DeRozan. Prince led Atlanta with 11 first-half points.
Toronto led by 20 when Miles hit a 3-pointer nearly two minutes into the third quarter. The Hawks trimmed the lead to 11 on a dunk by Collins with4:10 to play in the third.
A pair of 3-pointers by DeRozan and one by Wright helped the Raptors bump their lead to 22 points.
Toronto led 88-69 after three quarters.
“We just have to do a better job of slowing down the run or getting a run of ours,” Prince said. “We weren’t able to do that on a consistent basistonight.”
NOTES: Raptors coach Dwane Casey was spotted trading verbal barbs with Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer on the sidelines after the game. ... Raptors F Serge Ibaka was suspended for the game Friday after the team said he became involved in an “altercation” with a club official after the 124-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Disagreement, altercation, whatever you want to call it,” Casey said before the game. “It’s already been resolved. We met about it, both guys apologized to each other.” F/G C.J. Miles started in Ibaka’s spot and scored nine points. ... The Milwaukee Bucks will visit the Raptors on Monday. ... The Hawks will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.