Okay, so DeMar DeRozan isn’t all that and the Raptors aren’t quite NBA champs just yet. Toronto, coming off a home win against Sacramento on Sunday, battled Atlanta from start to finish tonight at the ACC, falling 104-101 when an Andrea Bargnani three rimmed out at the buzzer. DeRozan, who came in averaging 23.8 points per game over his last six and having scored double figures in 14 straight, scored nine points in the first quarter but was held off the board over the final 36 minutes in the loss.
I took this one in live, which coincidentally (or not?) was the first game DeRozan missed double figures since a loss against Denver just over a month ago. Yeah, yeah, stick this one on me. The Raptors actually hung tough after a slow start, erasing a 60-55 Atlanta halftime lead and taking a 77-75 lead through three quarters. After a back-and-forth fourth, Mike Bibby nailed a three with eight seconds left to give the Hawks a 102-101 and Joe Johnson made a pair of free throws with a second left before Bargnani’s deep ball rimmed out to seal the Atlanta win.
Bargnani scored 26 in the losing effort, with Leandro Barbosa chipping in 26 of his own off the bench in 30 minutes. Johnson had 26 for Atlanta, but it was Raptor killer Jamal Crawford coming off the bench and scoring 36 to lead the Hawks. After Toronto grabbed a 95-91 lead on a Bargnani hoop with just over two minutes remaining, Crawford nailed a 30-foot three from the wing to pull Atlanta back in, and he knocked down three free throws to grab a 99-98 lead with 53 seconds left after a Bargnani three gave Toronto an edge.
The loss is Toronto’s sixth and seven games at home, and drops the Raptors to 13-25 on the season. Atlanta, meanwhile, wins for the fifth straight time and improves to 26-14, which still trails Miami and Orlando in the Southeast but is good to tie Chicago for fourth in the Eastern Conference. So yeah, not one you’d expect to win but still a bit of a disappointment to see a late lead slip away. The win was Atlanta’s third straight against Toronto and eighth in the last 11 matchups.
With two games on the homestand in the book, the Raptors stay home to face Detroit Friday at the ACC.