The Hawks pulled off an exciting 121-120 victory over the Toronto Raptors with a buzzer-beating three from Tony Snell to improve to 5-1 under Nate McMillan and 17-20 on the season.
The Hawks came out with a starting lineup of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Tony Snell, John Collins, and Clint Capela. Maybe some fans were expecting to see Bogdanovic start, but for now, it seems he’ll help lead the bench unit for Atlanta. For Toronto, Deandre Bembry joined Kyle Lowry, Aron Baynes, Norman Powell, and Stanley Johnson in the starting lineup.
The Hawks came out scorching hot with a 14-4 run out of the gate. They would lead 37-26 after one. Trae Young led all scorers with 11. Gallinari helped out big time with eight off the bench, and the Atlanta defense had an impressive four blocks, with Capela and Okongwu looking solid in their minutes.
The Hawks started the second quarter with Rondo, Hill, Gallo, Bogi, and Okongwu. Rondo ignited Atlanta’s scoring with a deep three followed by a nice finish from Okongwu on a put-back dunk. The next possession for the Hawks was another Rondo-made three to give them a 45-29 lead. A Solomon Hill three would then cap off an 11-0 run by the bench unit.
However, the Raptors responded, scoring in a flurry going on a 10-0 run, cutting the lead to nine before a Hawks timeout. Following the break, Young uncharacteristically missed two straight free throws, and Terence Davis had a nice finish to close the gap even further.
The Hawks ultimately held off the Raptors, ending the first half up five — 64-59. The story of the first half was certainly Trae Young’s ability to get to the line, hitting nine of his twelve attempts. He would finish the half with 20 points on 5/12 shooting overall. Norman Powell led the scoring for the Raps with 18.
Kevin Huerter opened up the second-half scoring with a nice mid-range jumper — a staple of Red Velvet — on Atlanta’s first possession, but the rest of the quarter would belong to the Raptors. They took the lead a few minutes later, and following a Trae Young layup to tie the game, Toronto went on a run to put them up ten going into the final period.
The Hawks did come out strong to start the fourth, cutting the lead to five after a wild finish from Young through contact caused a Toronto timeout.
However, following the break, Toronto would hit three straight shots to gain their largest lead of the night, 13. Chris Boucher capped the 8-0 run with his second three of the game. The Hawks would then call a timeout of their own with 8:47 to go, hoping for another miracle comeback like the one in Orlando before the All-Star break.
With 3:47 to go, the Hawks cut the lead to five after a deep three from Young, and another three from Gallo came between a few stops for Atlanta. The Hawks then called a timeout after Collins drew a charge. A pair of Huerter free throws then put the Hawks down just three with 3:29 left.
After a few back and forth scores for both teams, Trae Young hit a tough driving layup to put the Hawks down two with under forty seconds to go. Atlanta would look for one more stop and a bucket to avoid the blown lead. They got the stop they wanted, but an unfortunate bounce off Collins gave Toronto another possession. However, Bembry would miss a fade-away floater with just 10 seconds to go, giving the Hawks a chance down two with the ball.
After the timeout, Trae Young drove to the rim and skipped the ball to Tony Snell for a wide-open three, which he canned at the buzzer to give the Hawks what can only be described as a complete rollercoaster. In a game of runs, the Hawks had the largest one when it mattered, ultimately winning the contest 121-120.
Trae Young would finish the night with 37 points, but his best play of the night would, of course, be his sixth and final assist to Tony Snell. Gallinari had a fine showing offensively, scoring 20 on 10 shots and hitting four threes. Capela had another monster rebounding game, finishing with 19 boards to go along with five blocks. While still not playing his best basketball, Rondo finished +6 for the Hawks and helped carry the bench unit in crucial minutes with Young resting.
The Raptors will be upset to waste a gem from Chris Boucher, who ended the game with 29 points on 10/15 shooting. Norm Powell continued his impressive scoring before the break, dropping 33 points and almost icing the victory with a couple of huge shots late.
All in all, the Hawks’ offense came through in the end, and the defense did just enough when it mattered to squeeze out the victory. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win the Hawks will appreciate.
The Hawks are back home Saturday against the Kings for a 7:30 tip-off.
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