The Hawks were led by an assertive Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, who combined for 53 points and 15 assists. It’s hard to say who was more impressive as Teague posted 34 points, 5 assists and hit all 11 of his free throws and Millsap posted his first career triple double (19 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists).
Playing an overtime game on a back-to-back saw the Hawks get off to a sluggish start. The bench came in and kept up with the Raptors, allowing the starters to rest. Once the starters returned, the Teague show began.
Teague had 12 points in the second quarter alone, bringing the Hawks back to tie the score 49-49 at the half. He didn’t slow down in the second half, scoring 19 points to finish with a career-tying high 34 points.
In 40 minutes of play, Teague went 11-18 from the field and only shot two 3-pointers, making one of them. Teague was efficient as he didn’t settle for long shots. He took the ball to the rim repeatedly and drew fouls, going to the stripe 11 times. Being aggressive helped get Toronto’s starters in foul trouble. Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson finished with five personal fouls, while guard Demar DeRozan finished with four.
When Teague cuts down on his 3-pointers attempted, he becomes more affective. Defenders are forced to give him more space in fears that he might burn them on his way to the rack. Teague is arguably one of the fastest coast to coast players in the NBA, and if he looks to utilize his speed more, than we could see the Hawks extend this win streak a lot further than five.
While this is the fifth straight win for a Hawks team who couldn’t buy a victory in February and early March, it is the first win over a quality opponent since arguably beating the Miami Heat in late January. This current five game win streak features wins against the Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Bobcats, and now the Toronto Raptors. Out of those five, only the Raptors have a winning record. Beating a quality team is something Atlanta needed to keep the momentum moving in the right direction.
The Hawks streak could be attributed to the new rotation that coach Mike Budenholzer has elected to use. This rotation does not included guard Lou Williams who has now not played in the Hawks last seven games. He missed one game due to the birth of his new child.