Raptors bury struggling Hawks
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 104-83 drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks and head into the All-Star break on a high note.
Kyle Lowry contributed 16 points and 13 assists while Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross donated 14 and 13 points, respectively, in Toronto's second straight triumph on the heels of back-to-back defeats. Jonas Valanciunas added a game-high 14 rebounds.
"We understand what we're playing for. We want to be third, we want to win our division, we want to make a run in the playoffs, but we've got to finish this season strong," said Toronto guard Greivis Vasquez.
Gustavo Ayon scored a season-high 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbed 10 boards in Atlanta's fifth straight setback.
"It's been a tough stretch," said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer.
Paul Millsap had 17 points and sharpshooter Kyle Korver extended his streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 120.
The Raptors used a big second half to pull away in this one. They led by one at the break but quickly built a 52-44 cushion after scoring the first seven points of the frame.
Patterson split a pair at the free throw line at 6:21 for a 63-53 edge, and Toronto led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
Steve Novak followed a Vasquez finger roll early in the fourth with a deep triple. Vasquez then hit from distance moments later for a 21-point margin and the hosts coasted the rest of the way.
The first half featured seven lead changes and five ties. Ross broke a 42-42 deadlock with his trey towards the end of the half, and the Raptors took a 45-44 lead into intermission.
Atlanta was without forward DeMarre Carroll, who missed the tilt with a strained left hamstring ... The Hawks outscored Toronto 50-32 in the paint ... Toronto did not score in transition ... The Raptors had just seven turnovers while forcing 15 by Atlanta ... Toronto enters the All-Star break with sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference.
02/13 02:31:26 ET