The Atlanta Hawks finished up a four-game homestand with a match-up against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday evening at State Farm Arena. While the Hawks entered the evening on a three-game losing streak, the team put together a strong effort, outlasting the Raptors by a final score of 132-121.
Though the Hawks put together a very good offensive first half, Atlanta actually started slow by converting just 1-of-5 from the floor with two turnovers. The first bucket was a beauty, though, with Trae Young finding Clint Capela with a long-distance pass.
Atlanta’s defense was shaky, but the offense heated up, scoring 19 points in fewer than six minutes and making seven of eight shots at one point. The Hawks weathered an 8-0 run by the Raptors and, before the starters went to the bench, the team’s passing was excellent.
Then, the second unit took over with strong results. First, rookie big man Onyeka Okongwu returned after a week-long absence with a dunk early in the second quarter.
The passing theme continued with the reserves, as ball movement was a tangible strength. That unselfishness, paired with red-hot shooting, allowed the Hawks to regain the lead behind contributions from Solomon Hill and Tony Snell.
Much of the rest of the half involved back-and-forth action, with the Hawks taking a three-point edge into the halftime break. Atlanta’s offense scored in balanced fashion, with six players producing at least eight points, and the Hawks shot 55 percent from the floor and 10-of-20 from three-point range with 17 assists. On the other end, the Raptors were able to score effectively in their own right, somewhat nullifying Atlanta’s electricity offensively and keeping things competitive.
The third quarter was marked by runs on both sides, but the period leaned in Atlanta’s favor. The home team generated three straight defensive stops to open the second half, using that to generate a 7-0 run to take a 10-point lead. While the Raptors did respond, the Hawks had another kick, leading by as many as 11 points in the period.
After Toronto made a push to keep things close, Young connected on a (very) deep three-pointer to stem the tide, and he scored 11 points in the quarter.
With 101 points through three quarters, the offense was humming, but there was still work to be done. The fourth quarter took on a far different tone than the rest of the game, with the pace slowed and defense emerging. Still, Atlanta managed to hold the line, leading by nine points with three minutes remaining.
From there, Young was called for an offensive foul, prompting a technical foul on Lloyd Pierce, presumably for arguing against the whistle. Then, the Raptors connected on a three-pointer, tightening the margin. After the two teams alternated defensive stops, Young found Capela for a dunk to push the margin back to seven at 121-114. The Raptors quickly answered but, after John Collins buried two free throws, the Hawks led 123-116 with 1:25 to go.
Then, Capela generated a blocked shot to keep the margin at seven and, after a timeout, Kevin Huerter effectively put the game away with a dagger three-pointer with less than a minute remaining. From there, it was smooth sailing on the way to an 11-point victory.
Atlanta’s offense was balanced and effective throughout the night, with six players scoring in double figures. As often, Young led the way with 28 points and 13 assists, with Capela producing 23 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in the game. Elsewhere, Collins (19 points, seven rebounds, three blocks), Huerter (19 points, 5-of-8 from three) and Gallinari (14 points, five rebounds, four assists) played at a high level, with the Hawks bowing up defensively in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
The Hawks will now recharge with a three-day break before facing the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday evening.