After their valiant comeback attempt fell short on Jan. 20, the Atlanta Hawks will try to take things a step further when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
The Raptors led by 21 points with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter at Atlanta on Martin Luther King Day only to have the Hawks cut the margin two points. The Raptors escaped with a 122-117 win because Norman Powell scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter.
Both teams are coming off wins on an emotional Sunday following the death of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash.
The Raptors held off the San Antonio Spurs 110-106 to end a string of 10 straight losses at San Antonio. Pascal Siakam scored a franchise-record 25 points in the first quarter and finished with 35 points for the Raptors, who had not won at San Antonio since Dec. 28, 2007.
The Raptors have won seven straight to equal their season-best winning streak.
“It was a rough, really rough locker room, prior to the game,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Just a lot of guys that it hit pretty close to home.”
The host Hawks defeated the Washington Wizards 152-133 on Sunday night led by 45 points and 14 assists from Trae Young.
Young had developed a special relationship with Bryant and his daughter and started the game wearing No. 8 — instead of his usual No. 11 — as a tribute.
“I said before we went out on the court, ‘We get two and a half hours to escape reality and have fun and play for him,'” Young said. “Play for that family. So we got to escape reality for a little bit, have fun, enjoy it and know that we had him looking over us and just enjoy that time with each other.”
It was the eighth time this season that Young has had 40 or more points in a game, second best in the NBA.
De’Andre Hunter added 25 points for the Hawks, Kevin Huerter contributed 18 and John Collins had 16.
Young scored 42 points and added 15 assists against the Raptors last week.
In San Antonio, the Raptors led by as many as 19 points in the first half before falling behind by eight points early in the fourth quarter.
Nurse said losing big leads is a reflection of how the game has changed.
“I think the one thing everyone has to get their head around a little more in this league is those 15-,18-, 20-point leads are just going away quickly,” Nurse said. “It’s just the way basketball has changed with so many more possessions and the 3-ball and all that stuff. It’s happening. You don’t want it to happen, but it’s maybe not as much as a catastrophe when it’s happening every night in the league. Just one of those things you have to get used to.”
Kyle Lowry had four assists Sunday and needs nine to tie Jose Calderon (3,770) as the Raptors’ all-time leader in assists.
Patrick McCaw has missed the past two games for the Raptors with a broken nose. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson left the game in San Antonio with a sprained ankle.
–Field Level Media