National Basketball Association
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                     === Raptors bury struggling Hawks ===
 
 Toronto,  ON (SportsNetwork.com)  - DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points to lead the
 Toronto  Raptors to  a 104-83 drubbing of  the Atlanta Hawks and head into the
 All-Star break on a high note.
 
 Kyle  Lowry  contributed 16 points and  13 assists while Patrick Patterson and
 Terrence  Ross donated  14 and  13 points,  respectively, in  Toronto's second
 straight triumph on the heels of back-to-back defeats. Jonas Valanciunas added
 a game-high 14 rebounds.
 
 "We understand what we're playing for. We want to be third, we want to win our
 division, we want to make a run in the playoffs, but we've got to finish this
 season strong," said Toronto guard Greivis Vasquez.
 
 Gustavo Ayon scored a season-high 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbed 10
 boards  in  Atlanta's fifth straight  setback.
 
 "It's been a tough stretch," said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer.
 
 Paul  Millsap had 17 points and sharpshooter  Kyle  Korver extended his streak
 of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 120.
 
 The  Raptors used a  big second half to pull away in this one. They led by one
 at  the break but  quickly built a 52-44 cushion after scoring the first seven
 points of the frame.
 
 Patterson  split a  pair at the free throw  line at 6:21 for a 63-53 edge, and
 Toronto led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
 
 Steve  Novak followed a Vasquez finger roll early in the fourth with a deep
 triple. Vasquez  then hit  from distance  moments later  for a  21-point
 margin and the hosts coasted the rest of the way.
 
 The  first half featured  seven lead changes and five ties. Ross broke a 42-42
 deadlock  with  his trey towards the  end of the  half, and the Raptors took a
 45-44 lead into intermission.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Atlanta  was without  forward  DeMarre Carroll,  who missed  the  tilt with  a
 strained left hamstring ... The Hawks outscored Toronto 50-32 in the paint ...
 Toronto  did not  score in transition ... The Raptors had just seven turnovers
 while  forcing  15 by Atlanta ...  Toronto enters the All-Star break with sole
 possession of third place in the Eastern Conference.
 
 
 02/13 02:31:26 ET