NEWS
12/03/2016 16:53 EST | Updated 12/04/2017 00:12 EST

Raptors roar to season-best sixth straight win with victory over Hawks

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan had 21 points, one of eight Raptors who scored in double digits, as Toronto roared to a 128-84 rout of the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

The victory stretched the Raptors' win streak to six games, and propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference standings in a tie with Cleveland.

Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson had 17 points apiece, Terrence Ross contributed 15, Pascal Siakam finished with 14, Lucas Nogueira had 11, and DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph had 10 each for Toronto (14-6).

Dennis Shroder had 15 to top the Hawks (10-11).

The Raptors are playing easily their best basketball of the season. Their offence, in particular, is running like a well-oiled machine. They're 4-0 on this homestand, and were coming off a 113-80 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers the previous night.

The Hawks' season story is virtually the opposite. Since racing out to an early 9-2 record, they've been in a tailspin, losers of nine of their last 10 games. They'd been demolished 121-85 the previous night by Detroit.

It was the same storylines for both teams Saturday, as the Raptors led virtually from the opening whistle, had cobbled together a 21-point lead by the second quarter, and went into the final frame ahead 86-71 in front of a capacity crowd of 19,800 that included Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts and Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis.

The Raptors showed no mercy in a can't-miss fourth quarter, hitting a flurry of shots. When Patterson scored on a three-pointer barely four minutes into the quarter, it put Toronto up by 28 points. Three minutes later, they'd stretched it to a whopping 38 points, and once again, coach Dwane Casey was able to empty his bench as the clock ticked down.

When rookie Jakob Poeltl scored a huge dunk with less than a minute to play, falling to the court with a huge, satisfied grin, the Raptors veterans on the bench leapt to their feet in celebration.  

DeRozan led the way with 14 points in a first quarter that saw Toronto race out to a 32-22 lead on 62 per cent shooting.

Patterson drilled three of the Raptors' five threes in the second quarter, and was terrific in stretches, including one series that saw him make a steal, then finish with an uncharacteristic dunk and free throw at the other end.

A pullup jumper by Carroll, who returned after sitting out Friday's game to rest, scored on a pullup jumper to put the Raptors up by 21 points with two minutes left in the half, and they went into the break with a 64-47 lead.

The Raptors host the Cavaliers on Monday and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Canada's Andrew Wiggins on Thursday.