Fourth-quarter comeback stalls as Hawks fall to Raptors

The Hawks very nearly came back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, they couldn’t overcome digging themselves out of a hole created by 23 turnovers, Norman Powell’s four 3’s in the fourth and an unfortunately timed foul in a 122-117 loss to the Raptors Monday at State Farm Arena. The Hawks move to 10-34 on the season and await the Clippers Wednesday at home.

“That was a good, bad game all in one,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “I thought we did everything we could to win that game and everything we could to put ourselves in the position we did in the fourth quarter. And I say it, it just where we are. Fourth-quarter execution.”

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After trailing by 11 coming out of the first quarter, the Hawks started the second on a 20-9 run to tie it 45-45. The Raptors (29-14) went scoreless from the 8:40 mark to 4:29, and the Hawks held a 60-57 lead at halftime after a reverse layup by John Collins, assisted by Trae Young.

Young had already registered a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists by the half — the first time he’s had a double-double in a single half. Young finished with 42 points and a season-high 15 assists. Collins also notched a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, to go with three blocked shots.

With a driving layup by De’Andre Hunter, a booming blocked shot by Collins and a 3-pointer by Cam Reddish on the ensuing possession, the Hawks were rolling 70-61 with 8:55 left in the third. With Young off the court for about four minutes, the Raptors came back to tie it, 79-79, and led by one going into the fourth quarter.

The Raptors scored the first six points of the fourth as Powell took over with the Hawks trailing 101-98 at the 7:14 mark after he hit three consecutive 3’s. Overall, Toronto went 7 for 11 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. Powell went 4 for 4.

Powell led the Raptors in scoring with 27 points, hitting 6-for-9 from 3 overall.

“That’s too easy, at that point,” Pierce said of Powell’s 3-point success, particularly in the fourth. “It’s a state of emergency, at that point. You deny him, you make (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) score one-on-one, but you don’t let him touch it. You definitely don’t let him touch it and shoot a 3 in front of you.”

Then, the Hawks’ comeback attempt started.

Hunter finished with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots but fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

A Collins dunk brought the Hawks within 15 with about three minutes to go, and a 3-pointer by Reddish made it 114-103 at the 2:06 mark. Young scored 18 points in the fourth, adding a deep 3 as the Hawks, trailing by seven, forced a turnover to get the ball back with 1:32 to go.

A cutting layup by Collins pulled the Hawks within two, but with 14.2 seconds to play, Collins fouled Fred VanVleet on a 3-point attempt and VanVleet made all three free throws, which helped seal the win for the Raptors.

“Tough foul,” said Collins, who also fouled out on the play. “I definitely thought he leaned out a little bit with his hips. But contact was made.”

VanVleet, who added 20 points, went 5-for-5 from the line in the final 30 seconds, stalling the Hawks’ surge.

“Our aggression, our pressure, our defensive effort,” Collins said of what allowed the Hawks to make a late comeback. “We got after them. I think we surprised them a little bit with how much we still had left in the tank. We made a nice run. We competed.”