Raptors Rapid Recap - Atlanta Hawks 104 - Toronto Raptors 101


-A series of executional errors down the stretch allowed the Atlanta Hawks to escape from the snowy confines of the Air Canada Center tonight with a 104 to 101 win over the Toronto Raptors.  It was a tough loss to swallow as the Raps looked have pulled off the upset, but in the end, the experienced Hawks got the W, their fifth straight.

-The Raps actually led this one 101 to 99 but an Amir Johnson offensive foul on a screen and roll gave the ball back to the Hawks, and Mike Bibby nailed a 3 with eight seconds left to get the go-ahead basket.  Toronto had another shot to win it, but Jose Calderon forced a drive on the ensuing possession, turning it over, and the Hawks hit both foul shots at the other end.  With two seconds left and a three-point deficit, Andrea Bargnani heaved a buzzer-beater attempt at a tie, but it hit the front of the rim.  Game over.

-While it was Bibby who hit the clutch 3 near the end of the game, it was the Jamal Crawford show through most of this one, particularly in the first half.  Crawford finished with 36 points in 34 minutes and kept a disinterested Hawks team alive.  Atlanta shot a few airballs, walked up and down the court on a few possessions, and shot only 44 per cent on the night, looking like they would have rather been anywhere but in TO.

-However Toronto's defence allowed the Hawks to hang around, and while the Dinos shot 54 per cent from the field, they didn't do many of the little things in this one to close it out, losing the rebounding, fast-break points and free throw categories.  The Hawks in fact shot 31 freebies on the night to Toronto's 12, a big reason this one was as close as it was.

-The Raptors were lead scoring-wise by Leandro Barbosa, who turned in a vintage Brazilian Blur performance circa his early Phoenix Suns days.  He was simply unstoppable late scoring 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting.  Andrea Bargnani started slow but turned it on as the game progressed, equalling Barbosa with 26 points himself.  The rest of the club however couldn't must enough offence in key moments as the next top point man for TO was Jose Calderon with 11.

-So chalk it up to a young team?  Perhaps, however the offensive foul call on Amir Johnson was extremely questionable to say the least, and the Hawks caught a few lucky bounces near the end too.  Again, Toronto's margin of error is so small that a few of these types of mistakes end up costing them big time.  It's too bad as well because with a win tonight, there was a good chance for the Raps to make a nice little run considering their next opponents are Detroit and Washington.

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