Powell’s big 4th quarter leads Raptors past Hawks, 122-117
ATLANTA — Norman Powell scored 27 points, including 17 in the final period, and the Toronto Raptors withstood Atlanta’s late charge to beat the Hawks 122-117 on Monday.
Toronto led by 21 points, 112-91, before surviving a late comeback by the Hawks, who pulled within two points at 117-115. Fred VanVleet, who had 20 points, sank three free throws with 14.2 seconds remaining after he was fouled by John Collins, pushing the lead to five points.
Powell had only 10 points through three quarters before finding his 3-point range in the final period to lead Toronto’s productive second unit. The backups were on the floor when Toronto made its comeback in the third quarter and remained in the game for most of the final period.
Trae Young had 42 points and 15 assists for Atlanta. Young’s four-point play cut Toronto’s lead to 114-107 with 1:39 remaining. Collins’ layup cut the deficit to two points.
Powell made three straight 3s to lead the Raptors’ decisive surge early in the final period. After Serge Ibaka added a 3, Powell continued his hot streak with another long-range shot, this one a 27-footer.
Powell has scored 20 or more points in five straight games. Toronto earned its fourth straight win.
Pascal Siakam scored 18 points for the Raptors.
Toronto scored the first nine points and quickly stretched the lead to 12 points, at 34-22, in the first period. But this would not be a runaway for the defending NBA champions.
Atlanta outscored Toronto 35-21 in the second period to lead 60-57 at halftime and then opened strong in the second half. The Hawks stretched the advantage to nine points, 70-61, on a 3-pointer by Cam Reddish.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Powell helped the Raptors quickly close the gap. Two free throws by Siakam tied the game at 79, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s jam gave Toronto an 81-80 lead. The Raptors led 83-82 entering the final period.
Raptors: Toronto hasn’t found a final version of its starting five, even after VanVleet’s second game of his return after missing five games with a hamstring injury. “I think it’s going to be in constant shuffle the rest of the season,” said coach Nick Nurse, who said “a lot of guys are worthy.” … Powell made 6 of 9 3s.
Hawks: Vince Carter made two shots — both 3s — against his former team. … C Alex Len (lower back pain) missed his fourth straight game but is expected to be available on Wednesday against the Clippers. … After making only 1 of 7 field goals and scoring only two points in Saturday’s 136-103 loss to Detroit, Kevin Huerter had nine points while making only 3 of 12 shots.
Pierce said the holiday to honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is special to Atlanta, King’s hometown. “The significance of the day here in Atlanta goes without saying,” Pierce said, adding King is “the most important figure in the history of our city.”
Nurse said he hopes young players use the day to learn more about King. “Hopefully this is an educational day for them,” Nurse said.
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