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Trae Young leads Hawks past Raptors 125-104

TORONTO – Grabbing offensive rebounds was at the core of the Toronto Raptors’ strategy as they looked for a second consecutive win against the Atlanta Hawks.

Things did not go according to plan.

Trae Young scored 38 points and had 11 assists to lead the Hawks past Toronto 125-104 on Friday as Atlanta snapped a five-game losing skid and leapfrogged the Raptors for 10th in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Toronto had three offensive boards to the Hawks’ 16 and were outrebounded 55-32 overall.

“That was one of our emphases, that they’re a good offensive rebounding team,” said Scottie Barnes, who led Toronto with 23 points. “They sent a lot of guys to the glass but we knew we needed to box out.

“Even if they got some offensive rebounds, we still could have took advantage of that by getting the ball to the net and playing the right way.”

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Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam had 15 points apiece for Toronto (10-15). The Raptors had ended a four-game losing streak with a 135-128 win over Atlanta on Wednesday to overtake the Hawks in the standings but ceded 10th back to the visitors with Friday’s loss.

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Two of Poeltl’s eight rebounds were offensive boards with Barnes grabbing Toronto’s other offensive rebound. Poeltl said the Hawks were crashing the glass hard all night.

“I think there was some unfortunate bounces as well, but I think for the most part, we just have to do a better job helping out,” he said. “It’s a little bit on everybody, especially with those long rebounds after how many threes that they shot.

“Got to be ready for those, and pick-and-roll situations. We’ve all just got to help each other out.”

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Young made seven three-pointers — three fewer than the entire Raptors roster combined — as Atlanta (10-14) snapped a five-game losing skid.

“I feel like our communication was off,” said Barnes. “They got a lot of easy threes where they were just walking down to threes, slipping out to threes.

“Miscommunication with the bigs (on pick-and-roll switches) and things like that. We’ve just got to tighten those things up. That was the main difference.”

Bogdan Bogdanovic came off Atlanta’s bench with 20 points and six assists and Clint Capela earned a double-double with 18 points and 15 boards.

Toronto also made only 56 per cent of its free-throw attempts, going 14 for 25 after being fouled.

“Whenever we have time, we have a chance, we’re trying to get guys to the free-throw line, multiple players, whole team together,” said head coach Darko Rajakovic on addressing their poor free-throw shooting. “We’re trying to practise it and put the pressure and importance of those as well.

“One game we’re OK and the next game it will drop off.”

Atlanta’s 59-49 lead heading into intermission was thanks largely to Bogdanovic, who came off the bench to score 13 in the second quarter.

Barnes sank a floater and drew the foul, sinking his one free throw, with one minute left in the third to bring Toronto to within nine points, but that was as close as the Raptors would get in the quarter. Young had 16 points in the third alone to power the Hawks to their 87-78 lead.

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Montreal’s Chris Boucher had a one-handed dunk and drew a foul, hitting the free throw, two minutes into the fourth to pull Toronto to within six. Atlanta responded with an 18-4 run to pull ahead of the Raptors with a sizable 20-point lead.

Trailing by more than 20 points with nearly three minutes left to play, Rajakovic sent out rarely used bench players such as Jalen McDaniels, Thaddeus Young, Garrett Temple and rookie Gradey Dick.

STARTER SIAKAM — Siakam surpassed Vince Carter for fifth on the Raptors’ all-time starts list. The 29-year-old Siakam has been in Toronto’s starting lineup 402 times, one more than Carter.

UP NEXT — Toronto’s four-game homestand continues on Monday as it hosts the Charlotte Hornets. The Hawks travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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