Hawks: The loss to Toronto illustrates Atlanta’s dependence on Trae Young

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The Hawks were back at State Farm Arena on the second night of a back-to-back in a matchup against the Raptors. Atlanta was riding a seven-game win streak, but they were without Trae Young due to a right shoulder contusion and eventually lost 106-100.

De’Andre Hunter came out of the gate on fire, taking advantage of Toronto’s smaller lineup, but it was Kevin Huerter that stepped up the most. At the half, Red Velvet notched 16 points, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.

The Hawks went into the locker room with a 57-48 lead, but the Raptors came out energized in the second half. Atlanta led by 11 at one point, but Toronto quickly erased that deficit and took a two-point lead behind Gary Trent Jr.’s big night. Catching fire towards the end of the third quarter, Trent Jr. totaled 17 points in the third, including a buzzer-beating three to end the quarter to put the Raptors up 80-72 entering the fourth.

Atlanta slowly cut in the lead and came within striking distance behind Bogdan Bogdanovic’s pair of three-pointers. However, with 20 seconds left and down one point, the Hawks gave up a corner three from OG Anunoby that extended the lead to four points.

The Hawks failed to connect on a three after a timeout and could not complete the potential comeback. Huerter finished with 26 points, Bogi totaled 18 points, and Hunter added 17.

John Collins had a rough night, but he’s always struggled against flexible and athletic teams. JC finished with a measly six points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 from three.

It was a brutal loss to swallow, but it is apparent how dependent the Hawks are on Trae Young. We saw it last year in the Eastern Conference finals against the Bucks too. This team doesn’t have the secondary ball handler and distributor necessary to keep the offense on track when Young is off the floor. The Hawks were without their best player in this matchup, but it revealed once again how much Atlanta needs Ice Trae on the court to succeed.

The Hawks will be back at home on Thursday to take on the Phoenix Suns and then hit the road on Friday in a rematch against the Raptors.

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