Dwight Howard and Dennis Schröder came up big for the Atlanta Hawks who outlasted the Toronto Raptors Friday night in a 125-121 shootout.
Howard was a monster on the inside from the beginning to the end finishing with 27 points and 15 rebounds. The Hawks attacked the basket and finished with a 62-46 edge in points in the paint.
Atlanta came out of the gate quickly on the offensive end and took a 35-27 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks pushed the lead to as many as 19 in the second and led 69-52 at the break.
Toronto began to chip away in the second half. The Raptors cut the lead to just five at 83-78 with just under four minutes remaining in the third but Atlanta closed the quarter with a 12-4 run to push the lead back to 95-82 heading to the fourth.
Toronto continued to push in the fourth. DeMar DeRozan cut the Hawks lead to just six points with a dunk with 3:47 remaining. Atlanta answered with a nice drive by Schröder and a dunk from Paul Millsap on a nice feed from Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Raptors wouldn’t go away and DeRozan cut the lead to 124-121 with 10.6 remaining. However, Schröder made 1 of 2 at the line to seal the win for the Hawks.
Schröder was big down the stretch scoring seven of his 24 points in the fourth. Kyle Korver pitched in 19 off the bench including six made three-pointers while Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 14 points each. DeRozan led all scorers with 34 points while Kyle Lowry added 27.
Atlanta probably won’t be happy with their defensive effort overall but they can take solace in that they were able to pull out a much needed road win over a quality opponent. The Raptors scored 69 points in the second half and shot 65 percent from the field. The Hawks have now given up 252 points over their last eight quarters but have a 1-1 record to show for it.
Atlanta won’t be able to celebrate long as they are right back at it again on Saturday when they finish up a back-to-back at home against Charlotte.