June 10, 2023
Siakam scores 31 points to help Raptors route Hawks - TSN.ca

Siakam scores 31 points to help Raptors route Hawks – TSN.ca

TORONTO — If the Toronto Raptors had raised a few eyebrows when they added Scottie Barnes to their training camp schedule as a guard, Monday’s masterful performance would have silenced critics.

Three nights after playing at center against Philadelphia and leaving Fred VanVleet with a sore back, Barnes filled in admirably at that point, finishing with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in Toronto’s 139-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

“I was just taking the looks they were giving me and trying to capitalize on making the right plays at the right times,” Barnes said.

Pascal Siakam had 31 points and 12 rebounds in Toronto’s seventh straight win over the Hawks at Scotiabank Arena. Gary Trent Jr. added 21 points, OG Anunoby finished with 14 points and six steals, Chris Boucher contributed 11 points and Precious Achiuwa had 10 for Toronto (4-3).

Dejounte Murray led Atlanta (4-3) by 20 points.

After an ugly 112-90 loss to Philadelphia on Friday, the Raptors led most of the evening and were up as much as 17 points late in the third quarter before taking a 95-80 lead in the fourth quarter.

Two Achiuwa free throws gave Toronto a 20-point lead less than a minute into the fourth quarter before Murray’s layup reduced the difference to 15. But the Raptors responded to every Hawks run, and when rookie Christian Koloko — who earned his first NBA start — was hit on the basket for a dunk, giving Toronto a 24-point lead, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd 19,800 fans at Scotiabank Arena.

Fans chanted “MVP!” when Siakam connected via two free throws at 5:22 to play. The baskets lifted Toronto by 29, and coach Nick Nurse emptied his bench at that point.

While Nurse has praised Barnes’ ability to lead the offense, he has been more impressed with his defensive efforts. The Raptors had a great night on defense, forcing 18 turnovers from the Hawks for 24 points.

“(Barnes) pressed, he danced the ball, throwing forward for transition buckets, really put us on the transition offense – but his defense was outstanding tonight,” Nurse said.

The 6-9 Barnes, who played point guard at Florida State, said on season-opening media day that he was eager to play more at that point this season.

“He can play basically any position and the good thing is that he’s ready for it,” Koloko said of Barnes. “When coaches tell him to play (centre) he’s cool with it… he’s willing to do it for the team. That’s exactly the type of player he is.”

Barnes hit three straight threes in under a minute in the first quarter, and Boucher’s threes at 3:07 in the frame capped a 7-0 run that gave Toronto an 11 lead. They led 34:28 to start the second.

Young’s three-pointer midway through the second quarter sent the Hawks up three points, but Barnes’ three-pointer was the exclamation mark on a 20-4 run by the Raptors that put them back in the lead at 13. Toronto went into halftime with 64 points -53.

The Hawks drew within a point early in the third quarter, but their momentum was short-lived and when Trent connected with two free throws late in the frame, the Raptors took a 17 lead, their widest lead to that point.

“A team like this will beat you like they did,” said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. “I thought there was more urgency from them. They played harder. They beat us.”


VanVleet will have to wait at least one more game to make up for their 0-for-11 shooting night in Friday’s loss to Philadelphia. He sat out Monday’s game a day after being unable to train due to stiffness in his lower back.

“I thought he was ready to go tonight but wasn’t,” Nurse said.


The game marked the first time AJ Griffin, the son of Raptor’s assistant Adrian Griffin and a freshman with the Hawks, faced his father’s team in an NBA game.

“It’s pretty cool, especially for Griff, Griff and I are pretty close,” Nurse said. “We watched a lot of Duke basketball last year (where AJ played). He’s proud… He’s a very, very nice young man. If the ball goes up we have to make sure he doesn’t shoot it up because he can shoot.”


The Raptors travel to Texas for games in San Antonio on Wednesday and Dallas on Friday. They’re back home to host DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

The Hawks travel to New York and play the Knicks on Wednesday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 31, 2022.

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