The Atlanta Hawks ventured north on Tuesday evening to face off against the reigning NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. The Hawks have showed some promise of late, going 4-3 in the seven games prior to tip-off, but one of those losses came to this same Raptor team just eight days ago in Atlanta.
With myriad injuries in the frontcourt, the Hawks would start Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter and John Collins.
The first quarter was actually a fairly back-and-forth affair in the opening minutes. After the first five minutes of action, Toronto led Atlanta by just five points, but that lead ballooned to 11 points over the next three minutes.
Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol really helped to jump start the Raptors offense and, even though the Hawks fought back late in the quarter, Toronto carried a 33-23 lead into the second period.
The second quarter was a much better offensive output for the Hawks, but there was no improvement on the defensive end and thus, no improvement on the Atlanta deficit.
Early on in the second quarter, Toronto stretched their lead all the way to 17 points before the Hawks began to chip their way back. Per usual, Young and Collins were a large part of the scoring effort and helped to narrow the gap down to 10 points just before the final two minutes of the half.
Hunter was a big lift in closing the first half as he had five pivotal points in the final two minutes of the second quarter to take the Hawks into the locker room down 68-56.
Another first half, another buzzer beater. pic.twitter.com/9StgfOYeBz— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 29, 2020
The Hawks turned the ball over nine times in the first half and shot just 25% from three point land (on 24 attempts). Toronto did not shoot much better, but only turned the ball over twice and, as a result, took a comfortable lead into the break.
The second half began pretty sluggish as neither team was able to score until nearly the 10 minute mark of the third quarter. Once again, the Raptors expanded their lead to open the quarter, but did not run away with the game at any point.
The Hawks actually got back within 12 points with just under eight minutes to go, but Toronto put their foot back on the gas to get back to an 18 point advantage.
Atlanta got some strong push late in the quarter thanks to an outburst by Young who dropped in 12 points during the third period alone. However, the Raptors closed the quarter well and recovered with ease to take a 14 point lead into the final frame.
This floater is just too good ❄️ pic.twitter.com/KAmL9Gawst— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 29, 2020
Quite literally everything fell apart for the Hawks in the final quarter. Atlanta did not even score until nearly the eight minute mark when Huerter hit a three pointer, but by that point the game was already over.
Toronto went on a 20-2 overall run from the end of the third quarter into the beginning of the fourth quarter to finally quash the Hawks’ chances at stealing a win this evening. Every starter aside from Reddish was pulled around the midway point of the fourth quarter as the Hawks began to wave the white flag.
Every Atlanta starter finished the game with at least 28 minutes of action, as Lloyd Pierce deployed a nine man rotation before inserting the extended bench for the final few minutes.
Collins led the way for Atlanta and was the biggest bright spot this evening as he amassed 28 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
Young scored 18 of his own and handed out 13 assists against a fairly tough defense. Reddish added 18 points and Hunter scored 15 more while also grabbing six rebounds.
Atlanta will be back in action on Thursday night to finish out the month of January against the Philadelphia 76ers at State Farm Arena.