Raptors’ 3-point shooting helps down Hawks

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives around Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives around Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Credit: AP

The Hawks (25-27) couldn’t stop the Raptors’ 3-point onslaught in a 125-114 loss in Toronto Friday.

Next up, the Hawks will play the Mavericks in Dallas Sunday.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. Entering Friday, the Hawks made 10-plus 3-pointers in 12 straight games, good for the third-longest streak in franchise history. That streak ended against the Raptors, though, who themselves had ample success from 3-point range, shooting 63% (17-for-27) to the Hawks’ 31% (9-for-29). Bogdan Bogdanovic came off the bench to lead the Hawks with four 3′s (18 points, five assists, four rebounds, four steals, one block), De’Andre Hunter made two 3′s (23 points, four rebounds two assists, one steal), John Collins made two 3′s (23 points, six rebounds, one assist, one block, one steal) and Kevin Huerter made one 3-pointer (seven points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal), but the Hawks struggled defending the 3-point line. Four of Atlanta’s nine 3-pointers came in the fourth quarter.

2. Despite tweaking his shoulder in Thursday’s win vs. Phoenix, Collins returned. Trae Young who missed Monday’s 106-100 loss to the Raptors with a right shoulder contusion, finished with 22 points, 13 assists and six rebounds, but was 0-for-4 from 3.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. Gary Trent Jr. has been on fire lately, averaging 29.5 points over the past six games, including a 31-point performance in Toronto’s win vs. the Hawks Monday in Atlanta. He added 19 points, but from the get-go, Pascal Siakam was the biggest thorn in the Hawks’ side, with 21 points in the first quarter. The Hawks trailed by as much as 18 in the first quarter as they struggled to contain Siakam, who finished with a game-high 33 points, plus nine rebounds and four assists. Fred VanVleet led the Raptors (28-23) with five 3-pointers, adding 26 points and 11 assists. Both teams were playing on the second half of a back-to-back, with the Hawks beating the Suns and the Raptors beating the Bulls in overtime Thursday.

“I thought our guys gave effort, but we definitely had heavy legs," Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “They had heavy legs as well. But I thought it affected our shooting. We were trying to get up and pressure and get a little closer and just wasn't able to do that. They were able to score early with isolations and late, they were knocking down their 3′s."

4. Winning the second quarter 31-21, the Hawks clawed back in the game and trailed by just one point at halftime, 60-59. They surged back again late in the fourth, a 12-0 run capped by a Young jumper making it a three-point game, 115-112, with 3:26 to play. The Raptors didn’t score from the 6:36 mark of the fourth until the 2:20 mark, but then got the timely baskets they needed, finishing the game on a 10-2 run. The Hawks also committed two costly turnovers in the fourth.

5. The Hawks are still in the hunt to get back to that elusive .500 mark, now falling to two games under it at 25-27. They fell under it Dec. 17 at 14-15, their record eventually dipping down to 17-25 amid a COVID-19 outbreak as numerous players entered health and safety protocols. The Hawks fell far enough in the standings that their seven-game win streak didn’t move the needle much, though it got them back into play-in tournament contention at No. 10 in the East. They’re still in that slot, but each loss dings them a bit as they jockey for postseason position.

Stat of the game: 63% (what the Raptors shot from 3-point range)

Star of the game: Siakam (had 21 points in the first quarter, finishing with a game-high 33 points)

Quotable: “I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a back-to-back like this, home a game and then away to Toronto, but it’s part of the job and just got to make do with what we have.” (Collins on if the Hawks were tired on the second night of a back-to-back)

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