Originally created 11/19/02

Hawks rout Raptors



ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks had no mercy for the tired, ailing Toronto Raptors.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 27 points as the Hawks built a 29-point halftime lead and routed the Raptors 117-92 Monday night.

Toronto had played the previous day, losing to Utah at home, and had only nine players in uniform.

"You've got to have that killer mentality," Atlanta center Theo Ratliff said. "We've let a couple of teams come back on us. We've let a couple of wins slip away."

No chance of that happening on this night. The Hawks began to pull away with a 10-0 run to close the first quarter, then ran circles around the shorthanded Raptors to push the margin to 66-37 at the break.

Abdur-Rahim scored 15 points in the opening quarter and got to watch the entire final period from the bench as the Hawks got some lesser-used players on the court. He has averaged 28 points over the past four games, the last three to lead Atlanta victories.

"I just think we came out with a lot of energy, we got after them defensively, shut them off offensively, ran, got a lot of baskets," Abdur-Rahim said.

The Hawks scored 15 first-half baskets off dunks, layups and tips, leading to an astonishing 38-8 edge on points in the lane. The Hawks also outrebounded the Raptors 29-11 and scored 25 points off turnovers before halftime.

Toronto's helplessness was epitomized when Hawks backup center Amal McCaskill, who had not scored all season, got several tips at a missed shot before the ball finally dropped through. The Raptors looked like a bunch of schoolchildren trying futilely to get the ball away from the tallest kid in class.

To make matters worse, the Raptors even returned for the third quarter to find they had two fewer points than when they went to the locker room. The officials used instant replay to take away a basket from Alvin Williams, ruling that he got off a driving shot after the buzzer.

"We started out OK, but they got off to a great run," said Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens, whose team needed an injury exemption from the NBA just to have nine healthy players. "We then lost confidence. We didn't believe in ourselves."

Toronto had won six consecutive games against the Hawks, including a 112-73 rout at the end of last season that was the biggest victory in Raptors history.

Atlanta remembered that one.

"They beat us bad last year," Jason Terry said. "We wanted to jump on them early."

By the end, the Hawks got to clear their bench. Chris Crawford played for the first time since Nov. 10, 2001 - a span of 84 games - after coming back from a torn ligament in his left knee.

"I'm just excited to get back out there," said Crawford, who scored two points, blocked a shot and had two turnovers. "It's been a long process."

Also, first-round draft pick Dan Dickau went much of the fourth quarter after playing only 1 minute in the previous five games.

Atlanta got scoring from all 12 players, including 14 apiece by Alan Henderson and Dion Glover.

Williams, Morris Peterson and Voshon Lenard each scored 17 points to lead the Raptors.

"You're going to have games like that," Lenard said. "You want to forget about that one as soon as possible."

Notes: The Hawks were 15-of-16 from the free-throw line. ... The Raptors dropped to 3-4 since Vince Carter went out with a quadriceps injury. ... The crowd was just 6,374 - the smallest since the Hawks moved to Philips Arena in 1999. ... The Hawks (6-4) will host Minnesota on Wednesday, hoping to move to three games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 1998-99 season. ... Atlanta's last victory over Toronto was Jan. 31, 2001.