- No one on the Hawks can stop DeMar DeRozan, and that’s why I’m confident in this potential second-round matchup. DeRozan averaged 24.3 points on 52/71/78 against the Hawks this season. Nobody even got close to staying in front of him tonight. Kent Bazemore is too flighty and foul-prone, Thabo Sefolosha is too small and too slow.
- The way to beat the Hawks is to pound it down low, and they simply had no solution for Jonas Valanciunas. Whether it was the pick-and-roll, where both DeRozan and Lowry would feed him steadily, or on post-ups where JV would simply brute his way to the bucket, there was no stopping him. The Hawks eventually doubled but Jonas did a decent job of passing it out for drives from the weak side.
- Spacing makes a world of difference. TJ Ross and Patrick Patterson makes this offense so much easier to watch.
- The Raptors had more assists than the Hawks tonight. They rank 29th and 2nd, respectively, on the season. How did the Raptors get those looks? They consistently beat the rotation by moving it side-to-side and either got drives to the hoop, kickouts for three, or dump offs to Jonas.
- Bismack Biyombo raised $6,000 for the Democratic Republic of Congo with his six boards tonight. Would have got more if Jonas wasn’t thriving so much. JV should donate to make up the difference.
- Am I worried about Kyle Lowry playing 40 minutes after getting his elbow drained? Yes. Am I worried that he shot 4-19 from the field? Yes. Did he somehow manage to be effective despite all that? Hell yeah, he’s Lowry.
- Kris Humphries is the least likeable player in the league after Tyler Hansbrough.
- Weirdly enough, Kirk Hinrich had an awesome game. He pestered the shit out of Lowry, pushed the tempo, and nearly led a bench squad to a massive comeback.
- Great bounceback performance by Norman Powell. He had a miserable start, fouled Kyle Korver twice around screens, but really turned it around in the second half. The crossover and dunk in transition was sexy.
- Let’s take a moment to appreciate the 50-win marker, not because it’s the end goal by any means, but because fans had to watch years of Andrea Bargnani travels on those shitty pump-fake drives, invest so much hope into Sonny Weems and Roko Ukic, and see so many big-name acquisitions (Turkoglu, Jack, Kapono, Gay) disappoint. It took 21 years but we’re here now. Take a picture, enjoy the view, and keep climbing.