DeRozan scores 15 points, Raptors heat Hawks
TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both struggled with their shooting, but it didn’t matter. Toronto’s two top stars found other ways to contribute, and the rest of the roster added plenty of punch in the Raptors’ season-opening victory.
DeRozan had 15 points and set career-highs with 11 rebounds and six steals, Lowry added 11 points and 10 assists, and the Raptors opened their defense of the Atlantic Division title with a 109-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
DeRozan made four of his 16 field goal attempts, while Lowry was 3 of 11.
“If we’re not making shots, we’ve all got to figure out other ways we can impact the game,” said DeRozan, who collected his fourth career double-double.
Amir Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, and Terrence Ross had 13 for the Raptors, who were an NBA-best 7-1 in the preseason.
Seven Toronto players reached double figures in scoring, including all five starters.
“We’re a team, we’re a complete team,” Lowry said. “Me and DeMar, we didn’t play as well offensively but we did other things to try to help the team win.”
Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague and Mike Scott each scored 20 points for the Hawks, and Paul Millsap had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Atlanta’s Al Horford, limited to 29 games last season by a torn right pectoral muscle, had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“We didn’t play good enough to win this game,” Horford said.
Horford connected on six of his 15 attempts, and his baseline jumper at 10:06 of the fourth was the 2,500th field goal of his career.
“It’s great to have Al back,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Particularly in the second half, he had a big impact. I think he’s going to continue to improve and get more comfortable offensively.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Scott and DeMarre Carroll capped a 10-1 run to bring Atlanta within eight, 102-94, with 2:30 left in the fourth, and another 3 by Scott at 1:26 made it 103-99.
Lowry made a pair of free throws, but Patrick Patterson was called for goaltending on Carroll’s shot, keeping the margin at four points.
DeRozan was fouled and missed both shots, but was fouled again as he grabbed his own rebound on the second. Given another chance, DeRozan made both to put Toronto up 107-101 with 32 seconds left. After Teague made one of two from the line, Patterson sealed Toronto’s win with a fast break dunk.
“We’ve got to do a better job of keeping our foot on the pedal at the end of the game,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Toronto finished 27 for 33 at the free throw line, while Atlanta went nine for 17.
Toronto was called for 23 fouls per game last season, tied with Denver for most in the NBA. The Raptors committed six fouls in the first 6:32 of the opening quarter, but didn’t get called for another before the end of the first. They finished with 22.
Wednesday marked 32 years since Hall of Fame forward and nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins made his Atlanta debut as the Hawks lost 94-86 to Detroit.
Raptors: Toronto’s first five field goals were each scored by a different member of the starting lineup. ... Casey is just the second coach in Toronto history to lead the team into four opening night games. The other was Sam Mitchell, who did it five times from 2004 to 2008. ... In their 20-year history, the Raptors have never had the same opening night starting lineup twice. ... C Greg Stiemsma (sprained right ankle) was inactive. He was replaced by Lucas Nogueira. ... F Bruno Caboclo, Toronto’s first-round pick, was inactive.
Hawks: Korver finished six for seven from 3-point range. ... Before the game, Casey praised Atlanta for being an “unsung” contender in the Eastern Conference. “Nobody is talking about how good and solid a team they’ve put together,” Casey said. ... Atlanta made 19 turnovers, leading to 23 Toronto points.
Toronto heads south to Florida this weekend, visiting Orlando on Saturday night and Miami on Sunday night.
Atlanta hosts Indiana in its home opener Saturday night.