For most of Tuesday night’s contest, the Toronto Raptors looked like they were headed for an embarrassing loss to one of the basement dwellers of the Eastern Conference.
After trailing for the majority of three quarters, the Raptors ambushed the Atlanta Hawks 30-13 in the final quarter and escaped with a 106-90 victory.
Behind 25 points from DeMar DeRozan, 15 from Jonas Valanciunas and 14 from C.J. Miles, the Raps won their fifth straight, sweeping the four-game season series with the Hawks.
After the game, DeRozan was asked about the article penned in The Players’ Tribune by Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love Tuesday, saying he was inspired to divulge his own struggles with mental health after DeRozan had spoken about his. DeRozan said he plans to reach out to Love soon.
“Man, the last week has been probably one of the most incredible things that, me personally, I’ve witnessed, period. Me being who I am, and the response, and everything I’ve got back from it was so positive, you know, and it made me feel, you know, pretty damn good, honestly. So it’s cool to be able to help somebody.”
It was a feel-good moment after a game in which the Raptors had been largely disappointed in their effort for much of the night.
The Hawks opened Tuesday’s game with a surprising 11-4 run in the first three minutes. The Raps were caught on their heels defensively, they missed shots, and carelessly turned the ball over three times. It hardly looked like a contest between the first place and 15 place teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Raps’ starting small forward OG Anunoby was sidelined for his third straight game with a sprained right ankle. Malcolm Miller started in his place for a second consecutive contest, with Norman Powell once again getting the final four minutes of the first half that Anunoby would also usually play.