The Toronto Raptors have their best player back. To be precise, DeMar DeRozan returned on Wednesday.
On Friday night against Atlanta, DeRozan looked to be mainly in form, scoring 25 points, but it wasn't nearly enough to stick with the East's top team.
From the first quarter on, the Atlanta Hawks (32-8) led as they kept their franchise-record road winning streak alive.
Atlanta has been resting starters of late, but in this one against the third-place Raptors (26-13), all hands were on deck.
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Sharing the load
As they have all season, the Hawks shared the scoring load appropriately, with Al Horford leading the way with 22 points and five rebounds, while the rest of the Hawks' starters scored in double figures. That's on par with their averages on the season.
Paul Millsap scored 16 points with eight rebounds, Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll scored 13 points apiece and Kyle Korver added 11.
It was also another example of the offensive precision that has gotten Atlanta to where it's at.
The Hawks shot 61 percent from the field, 52 percent from the 3-point line and 88 percent from the line. The Raptors, on the other hand, shot 43 percent from the field, 24 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the free-throw line.
Toronto had just two starters score in double figures while Atlanta finished with 30 assists to the Raptors' 20.
All those numbers do mean something, of course.
They mean the Hawks are getting better shots than their opponents, making the passes other teams aren't and then knocking down those shots when they get them.
In the NBA, many teams play the two-man game or try to isolate their top players to create shots. Atlanta gets the entire team moving in its offense and thus is able to take advantage of other team's defensive letdowns away from the ball in a better way than other teams.
In short, their success is sustainable because it isn't just hot shooting, it's getting in the right position at the right time and raising their shooting percentages because of it.