The Atlanta Hawks finished a tough stretch of games, that saw the team play three games in four nights. This afternoon, the Hawks hosted the Toronto Raptors in an MLK Day matinee.
Coming into the long holiday weekend, the Atlanta Hawks had a tough test in front of them that saw the team travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs then return home to face the Detriot Pistons and Toronto Raptors in four days. The Hawks were in the midst of a four-game losing streak that looked like it could extend past the holiday weekend. Well, the Hawks put those worries to rest by beating the Spurs in San Antonio. The Hawks couldn’t keep the momentum going when the Pistons beat the Hawks on Saturday. Now, on Monday, the Hawks were hosting the defending NBA Champions, Toronto Raptors.
The Hawks started the game slowly, getting in a 7-0 hole quickly. The team was sloppy in the opening minutes, committing three fouls before the Hawks put a point on the board. Led by Trae Young’s heroics, the Hawks fought and clawed back into the game before the Raptors could build a sizable lead.
The Hawks continued to play well as the game progressed. Despite being down after the first quarter, Atlanta was able to mount a comeback and capture the lead in the second quarter. Solid defense and unselfish play on offense are what led the Hawks to their second quarter-surge. The Hawks would go in halftime with the lead, 60-57.
Coming out of halftime, the game stayed very close between the two teams. The Hawks were not backing down from the challenge of facing off with the defending NBA Champs. The Raptors, with their superior talent, gave the Hawks everything they had. Going into the fourth quarter, the Raptors recaptured the lead, 83-82.
The game was a tight and competitive contest going into the fourth quarter. And, it stayed that way, for a little while. Then, Norm Powell happened. The surging sixth-man for the Toronto Raptors went off in the fourth, scoring 17 of his 27 points. At one point, the Raptors extended their lead to 21 points with under five minutes to go. With the game getting out of hand, the Hawks were undeterred. The Hawks, led by Trae Young, put the pressure on Toronto, cutting the Raptors lead to 117-115 at one point. However, the Hawks would eventually relent and fall to the Raptors.
When the season is over, this will just look like another loss. This felt like more than a loss for the Hawks, however. The Raptors needed an outstanding performance from a bench player to get past this Hawks team this afternoon. This was a big test that was going to have a lot of eyes on the game because of the MLK holiday, and the Hawks didn’t back down. Yes, this Hawks team needs to start converting these games into wins. With the way this team is playing lately, the Hawks will be doing more winning as the season continues to progress.