Atlanta 109 Toronto 87
TORONTO — Two up-tempo quarters left the short-handed Toronto Raptors with nothing in the tank for the second half — and the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks made them pay.
Jeff Teague had 19 points and 10 assists as Atlanta pulled away after the break en route to a 109-87 rout of the Raptors, earning a split of their home-and-home series.
Teague torched the Raptors in the pivotal third quarter, scoring eight points and dishing out four helpers to help Atlanta pull away. The Hawks (36-25) cruised from there to remain tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with the Orlando Magic, who defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 113-100 earlier Monday.
Ivan Johnson had a team-high 21 points off the bench and Joe Johnson added 18 in the victory, which officially secured the Hawks a post-season berth.
DeMar DeRozan led the way with 22 points for the Raptors (22-40), who were coming off impressive wins over Boston and Atlanta and kept things close Monday before being overwhelmed by a healthier and more seasoned Hawks club. Toronto was playing without four of its veteran regulars, including leading scorer Andrea Bargnani and starting point guard Jose Calderon.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey suggested the demands of a condensed schedule — and roster to match — may finally be catching up with his team.
“Our disposition was a little different (Monday) than it was (Sunday) for reasons I don’t know,” Casey said. “I thought we ran out of gas having a shortened roster.”
Play in the paint told the story Monday: Toronto dominated inside in the first half, only to see the Hawks take control after the break. That, combined with 19 turnovers, ultimately cost Toronto the game.
Raptors forward James Johnson said his team should have been more aggressive getting to the basket in the second half.
“They did a good job packing the paint but that wasn’t keeping (anybody) out … we still had the backdoor,” said Johnson, who finished with 18 points in a reserve role.
“They had good denial defence and their help was better, but I think we still could have (gone) into the paint a lot more.”
The point guard combo of Ben Uzoh and Gary Forbes also struggled in the loss, combining to shoot 5-for-23 from the field and doing little to harangue Teague on the defensive end.
The second-year Wake Forest alum converted a pair of three-point plays — both times resulting in a foul by Uzoh — that stretched a three-point lead to eight. The Hawks weren’t challenged the rest of the way.
Casey said that Uzoh, who played 26 minutes on Sunday and 33 more on Monday, looked tired in the second half.
“He played big minutes and he wore down,” said Casey.
“That’s why Teague was alternating with (Kirk Hinrich) and they were running at him in transition, and that’s why I saw more fatigue in Ben.”
Uzoh may have been exhausted — and judging by his 2-for-11 shooting performance, he was — but he found other ways to contribute by leading the team in both rebounds (10) and assists (eight).
“I can do a lot of things well,” he said. “I’m a whatever-it-takes kind of guy. I just want to win.”
Hawks head coach Larry Drew was impressed with how his team bounced back from Sunday’s lopsided loss to the Raptors.
“I have all the confidence in the world with this team,” he said. “(Sunday) night’s game we laid an egg, but I challenged the guys to come back and more than anything just bring energy, the way we know we are capable of playing.
“I thought we did that right at the start.”