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Hawks fall to Raptors as Vince Carter reaches 25,000-point milestone

The Hawks kept it close for most of the night, but the Raptors ran away late.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In a game as anticipated for Vince Carter’s milestone as anything else, the Atlanta Hawks took on the Toronto Raptors at State Farm Arena in what ended up as Atlanta’s ninth straight loss and 15th on the season. The Raptors were missing Kawhi Leonard but still posed a massive threat to the Hawks as one of the deepest teams in the NBA.

Toronto ran away with the game for a final score of 124-108, but the last two points were the most important for the Hawks, as Carter put in a dunk with 0.5 seconds left to pass 25,000 for his career.

The game started out pretty rough for both teams with the first points of the night not coming until the 8:46 mark. The Raptors began to get a little rhythm going while the Hawks continued to struggle. Vince Carter was able to get going about midway through the quarter as he continued to inch ever closer to the 25,000-point career milestone. Then things really picked up when Jeremy Lin entered the game as he looks more and more like his former self with every game. The veteran point guard put up nine points at the end of the first and was able to pull the Hawks slightly closer to finish the quarter down only 29-24.

The second quarter saw the Hawks lose a little more ground as Serge Ibaka began to get going. Atlanta’s first unit came back into the game early on in the second and was pretty ineffective overall with the Raptor big men really taking advantage of the Hawks down low on the block. The Hawks defensive effort was slightly improved but they still took a 55-44 deficit into the locker room at the half.

The Hawks continued to hang around in the third quarter as the Raptors came out hot. Atlanta was able to absorb the blow without losing much ground on Toronto. Miles Plumlee was involved throughout the quarter and made some positive impacts on both the offensive end and on the glass to help the Hawks stay within striking distance. Atlanta went to the fourth down just 13 points looking for a late comeback.

Things got away quickly from the Hawks in the fourth as instead of mounting a comeback they began to get their doors blown off from beyond the arc where the Raptors really began to heat up. Most notably Danny Green and Serge Ibaka who was a nightmare for Atlanta all night long. Jeremy Lin had a quick burst late in the game with a barrage of three point shots. It was all too little, too late as the Raptors would go on to win easily.

Lin was phenomenal throughout the game, shooting 11-for-13 from the floor en route to a season-best 26 points. He added a rebound, two assists, and a steal to his box score, but it was the scoring that will get the plaudits for the veteran backup.

More importantly, Vince Carter finally was able to reach the 25,000 point plateau on a (what else?) big time jam at the buzzer. This came after a grueling effort to get him the shot needed for the record at the end of the game. After the game he was showered with praise from former teammates in a nice video tribute along with congratulations from both the Raptor and Hawk benches.

Carter, in very emotional form after the game said, “It got to the point where I was just pressing and wanted to get it over with.” Now that Vince has accomplished the feat expect the Hawks to scale back his minutes a bit, but for tonight, against his former team, Mr. Carter was the winner. Congrats to Vince.

After the game, he spoke to FSSE’s Rebecca Kaple about what the achievement meant to him:

The Hawks also had a video tribute ready for whenever Vince marched past the milestone

Finally, NBA commissioner Adam Silver joined the party with congratulations of his own.

The Hawks will be back at it after Thanksgiving when they face the Celtics on the 23rd. Stay tuned.