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Raptors strive for collective effort vs. Hawks

Oct 26, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (3) passes the ball over Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris in the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After a sluggish loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, the Toronto Raptors will complete their three-game homestand Monday night against the Atlanta Hawks and high-scoring Trae Young.

Young scored 42 points in a 123-115 loss to the host Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night and is averaging 31.5 points per game. He has scored at least 35 points in each of his past three games.

In losing 112-90 to the 76ers, who were without Joel Embiid on Friday, the Raptors were done in by Tyrese Maxey’s career-best 44 points.

“We’ve got to do a better job collectively defensively,” said Pascal Siakam, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto on Friday, “because to me, the team that we are, someone can score two, somebody can score 100, but once we are connected together as a team and play together as a team, it shows. No matter who is scoring or who is not, we always look like a team and I think that we didn’t (Friday) because they just played so well.”

The Raptors defeated the 76ers on Wednesday in the opener of the homestand.

Toronto guard Fred VanVleet was 0-for-8 from 3-point range Friday after going 77 straight games with at least one made 3-pointer. He finished with one point on 0-for-11 shooting from the field and 1-for-3 from the free-throw line.

“I asked him several times in the game physically if he was all right,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “And he said that he was every time, but he certainly was out of sorts.”

“I think he’s got to continue to be aggressive for us,” Siakam said of VanVleet. “We’re not really worried about the shot-making because he has done that at a high level and we know he can do that.”

VanVleet agreed he wasn’t himself on Friday.

“I didn’t have much pop, much energy,” VanVleet said. “I’ve had a few games like that. I usually throw a couple 3s in there late and people forget about it. It didn’t go that way this time. … I’ll bounce back.”

The Hawks, who lost for the second time in six games on Saturday, led briefly by one point against the Bucks on Young’s 3-pointer with 4:09 to play.

“I felt that we made it a shootout,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “I think we’ve got to be more aggressive getting to the basket. (Saturday), I thought we settled a lot for the jump shot and the deep ball, and we didn’t get to the free-throw line — only 15 free-throw attempts. I don’t even know if we had a free-throw attempt in the fourth quarter.

“So, you can’t settle. You’ve got to get pressure, we need to get to the penalty by keeping pressure on their defense by attacking them, and not settling on the perimeter for contested shots.”

Young said the loss was a learning experience for the Hawks.

“I think, you’ve just got to keep fighting, like we did,” Young said. “We can’t put ourselves in too much of a hole like we did to start the game. But if we do a better job of starting games and then we don’t have to find a way to get ourselves back into it. So we’ve just got to start the game a little bit better and faster and just learn that way.”

–Field Level Media