Hawks soar over the Raptors in heartbreaking loss

The short handed Raptors lose a nail biter to the Hawks.

This recent stretch of games for Toronto have had an unbelievable amount of names on the injury report and last night was no different. Once again Pascal Siakam was out along with Precious Achiuwa, Gary Trent Jr, Otto Porter Jr, Chris Boucher, and even Dalano Banton didn’t suit up. This left Nick Nurse with a mere 10 players available for this game and like many of the last few games the Raptors showed tenacity and heart against the Atlanta Hawks.

The star of the night is Scottie Barnes who looked much much better than he has at any point this season. Scottie cashed in 4/8 three point shots and was bruising his way to the rim all night and he was a huge reason the Raptors were able to remain competitive last night. Multiple times at the end of quarters it was Scottie Barnes sneaking in another basket before the break and it was these kinds of plays the Raptors needed to stay with Atlanta. Scottie also was passing very well last night, firing fast balls to shooters in the halfcourt, using the threat of his finishing to open up easy rim looks for his teammates and the usual transition looks he can generate. Although Scottie did a lot of good last night there was also some bad. Scottie was for some reason tasked with guarding Hawks star Trae Young which is a tough task for the majority of the league. Scottie gave up a lot of drives which led to either Trae Young scoring directly or a lob to the big after the help slid over.

Another player who had a big night is Malachi Flynn who showed a lot of promising signs that he should be a fixture in the rotation even when all the starters come back. Not only was he the recipient of some of those aforementioned Scottie Barnes passes he also had a nice night when it came to creating shots for himself. Flynn had a great possession in pick and roll where he put his man in jail and bounced off of him for the floater. He also hit a couple mid range shots off the dribble in isolation which is something the Raptors need off the bench, reliable scoring. Flynn had a season high 17 points last night and all signs are pointing to more good scoring nights from him.

OG Anunoby also played well last night where he gave the Raptors 27 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. Last night OG showed just how strong he is multiple times drawing many blocking fouls as his defenders toppled over as he drove into them. It was a peculiar night for Anunoby though because he didn’t make a single three point field goal and went 0/6 but still managed to get 27 points. This is important because it means OG is leveraging his strength and being aggressive in a way that allows him to get easy rim looks and draw free throws which he had 7 of last night.

With all this good that happened for the Raptors the game ended in the most heartbreaking fashion. After being up in the 4th quarter the Atlanta Hawks battled back and were able to close the distance as the 4th was closing. Fred VanVleet had a late drive where he made a laydown pass to Scottie Barnes who just couldn’t finish the layup or the put-back. Then in overtime after two clutch free throws from OG Anunoby disaster struck. After the Hawks inbounded the ball there seemed to be some miscommunication on defense and Scottie Barnes left his man in the backcourt unchecked which allowed Trae Young to throw a lob to AJ Griffin for the game winning layup. This is one of those losses where you tip your cap and just appreciate how much the short handed Raptors were able to battle.

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