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Official Hawks October Game Thread


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So I figured we'd have a month long in game thread just for the sake of cleanliness. A thread for every game with 10 replies is going to clog this place lol.

Everyone agree with the premise?

This is strictly an in game thread and reactions to the games. Anything significant should get its own thread.


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Hawks-Raptors Preview



The most successful team in Toronto Raptors history returns largely intact, but that didn't stop coach Dwane Casey from preaching improvement throughout the preseason.

As far as he's concerned, his club needs to take the mentality of being overlooked at the beginning of last season and carry it over into 2014-15, especially with the heightened expectations.

"We can't listen to the noise," Casey said. "We can't sit on what we did last year. We have to continue to grow and get internally better. We'll find out who we are the next couple weeks."

Toronto begins its season Wednesday night against the visiting Atlanta Hawks after winning a franchise-record 48 games and its first Atlantic Division title in seven years. And it'll see plenty of familiar faces in the locker room.

The starting lineup of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Terrance Ross, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas missed a combined 13 games last season and developed plenty of chemistry, and role players like Tyler Hansbrough and Landry Fields also return.

"We have confidence even if we didn't come off a winning season," DeRozan said. "When we look around and see the same guys that fought with us every single day back again, we have that much more confidence that we can be a lot better. We've just got to go out there more hungry."

The most notable return is Lowry, who fielded offers in free agency before re-signing for four years and $48 million after averaging career bests of 17.9 points and 7.4 assists.

"We've got guys that are focused on getting to the next level," Lowry said.

Lowry had his last-second shot blocked as Toronto fell in Game 7 to Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs last season. The Raptors haven't won a postseason series since 2001, and that's something Casey hopes his squad keeps in mind.

"Now we just have to take the next step and getting it done with a chip on our shoulder," Casey said. "We haven't done anything. We're still in the building process and along with that we have expectations. I'm pushing us to grow and everyone around us is saying we're supposed to win. I'm reminding the guys that we're still a young team.

"There's still growing to do with our core guys. There's pressure to do that, and winning and everything else will take care of itself."

Toronto re-signed Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson, who were acquired from Sacramento for Rudy Gay in December, and added more depth by bringing in Lou Williams via a trade with Atlanta in June.

Williams struggled to stay healthy during his two seasons with the Hawks, who dealt him in a cost-cutting move.

"Anytime you can prove somebody wrong and play those types of games is always fun," Williams said. "I'm coming in here with the mindset of just wanting to help and being a part of that culture."

He was made wise quickly of how Toronto expects to surprise people again this season.

"They had a lot of success last year and they're still not being talked about," Williams said. "They take that very personal."

Williams' former team also returns a good chunk of its roster after Atlanta made the playoffs for a seventh straight season. The Hawks went 38-44 but gave top-seeded Indiana a scare in the first round by taking the series to seven games.

What makes that most impressive is the fact that Al Horford played in only the first 29 games before tearing his right pectoral muscle. He also played just 11 games in 2011-12 after tearing the same muscle on the left side.

Horford returns fully healthy, and the Hawks drafted Michigan State standout Adreian Payne in the first round to add depth in the paint. With the signing of Thabo Sefolosha in the offseason, Atlanta has good reason to believe it can make some noise in the playoffs.

The task for second-year coach Mike Budenholzer is finding minutes for everyone. Starters Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague are back with Horford, and Budenholzer sees himself having a good problem with the quality of players he can bring off the bench.

"That will be one of the hard things, figuring out how to use them all and take advantage of all their abilities," Budenholzer said. "Assuming we're healthy, we've got a lot of guys that really deserve to play."

Millsap made strides last season in his first with Atlanta, averaging a career-best 17.9 points and making his first All-Star team. Teague also set a career high with 16.5 points per contest while Korver extended his streak of hitting at least one 3-pointer to 127 games.

Teague tied his career high with 34 points in 118-113 overtime win over the Raptors on March 18 as the teams split the four-game season series. DeRozan averaged 28.0 points in those matchups.

I'm really looking forward to watching them play tonight should be a great game against a pretty good toronto team!

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