After a long road trip, Raptors vs. Hawks was a highly anticipated home game. However, with the Raptors shipping out Jonas Valanciunas for Marc Gasol and Kawhi Leonard out with rest, they were left short-handed as they entered State Farm Arena.
The Hawks started the night off hot, hitting 12 of their first 16 threes. The team ended up making 16 on the night, led by Taurean Prince who followed up his big game Monday with five deep balls. Both Prince and Trae Young finished the night with a team-high of 19 points. After being thrown around in numerous trade rumors, Prince will be sticking with the team and looks to be finding a groove coming off an ankle injury that cost him over a month.
Whatever the Hawks had going for them in the first half, the wheels came off the wagon in the second. Atlanta was outscored 59-33, looking like the team that won six of their first 29 games. They shot just 52% from the free throw line, a big reason for the 18 point deficit at the end.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors stepped up despite the absence of two of the team’s most talented players. Both players had career nights, with Siakam posting 33 points and VanVleet scoring 30. They showed that they have the depth to be a real threat for the East, in which they currently place 2nd and are adding Marc Gasol. New head coach, Nick Nurse, has done a terrific job with this team and they are going all in on a Finals appearance in 2019.
As far as the Hawks are concerned, the trade deadline has passed, and for the most part, the band has remained together. We will see if buyouts happen, but Travis Schlenk made it clear in a presser that he wants to preserve the chemistry in the locker room and keep his players developing.
The Hawks play next at home on Saturday against the Hornets.