Basketball / Sports

Hawks blown away in Toronto

TORONTO -- The Raptors have a new look that's working for them. The Atlanta Hawks head into the All-Star break still searching.

The Hawks lost, 104-83, at the Raptors Wednesday to extend their season-long slide to five games. The last time the Hawks last lost as many as five consecutive games was a six-game streak to close the 2010-11 regular season.

The Hawks beat Toronto 102-95 in their home opener. Since then the Raptors traded away Rudy Gay in a seven-player trade on Dec. 9 that netted them Patrick Paterson, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes.

From that day the Raptors (28-24) have the third-best record in the East at 21-12. The Hawks (25-26) dipped below .500 for the first time since they were 9-10 and face tough tests at Indiana Tuesday and vs. Washington after the break.

Entering Wednesday the Hawks and Raptors were among five teams within three games of one another in the Eastern Conference and well behind Indiana and Miami. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said it's much too early to ponder the standings.

"It's amazing what can happen in 30 games, good and bad," Budenholzer said before the game.

Budenholzer said the Hawks are focused on building good habits. They have some work to do.

The Bulls bludgeoned the Hawks with their grinding style in a 100-85 victory Tuesday night. In the Raptors the Hawks faced a smallish opponent willing to engage them in a more free-wheeling game but Toronto did it better.

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 31 points. Kyle Lowry added 16 points and 13 assists for Toronto.

A night after he was overwhelmed by Chicago All-Star Joakim Noah, Hawks center Gustavo Ayon made his first six field-goal attempts and finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Atlanta forward Paul Millsap had 17 points.

The pace and the ball movement were crisp for the Hawks early. They recorded an assist on each on their first 15 baskets of the game and might have built a sizeable halftime lead if not for carless turnovers and misses on eight of nine 3-point attempts.

Instead, Atlanta trailed 45-44 at the half and then faded from there. The Raptors scored 33 points in the third quarter and opened the fourth with a 5-0 spurt for an 83-65 lead.

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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