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    Undermanned

    The Toronto Raptors began the second half of their 2020-2021 season on Thursday night against Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. Toronto is coming off back-to-back losses in a week that saw the team lose Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw and Malachi Flynn to contact tracing related to the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols.

    In their 2 losses, the Raptors were also without Nick Nurse and several members of his coaching staff. In their first game back since the All-Star break, Toronto was “home” at Amalie Arena to face a Hawks team on a 2-game win streak. With a 24-8 run to close out the 4th, Atlanta stole the game 121-120.

    In the final quarter, Toronto went 3+ minutes without a basket. They allowed the Hawks back into the game and watched as Tony Snell hit a game winning buzzer beater to secure the win.

    Trae Young led all players with 37 points in 36 minutes and 7 assists. His biggest assist of the night came on the game-winning pass to Snell. He played 26 minutes and scored half of his 6 points with the game-winning three. Danilo Gallinari added 20 points on 60% shooting as the Hawks extend their winning streak.

    Norman Powell led all Raptors with 33 points in 38 minutes of action. He continues to be one of the Raptors most consistent players, averaging 31.3 points with Siakam, VanVleet and Anunoby out. In Thursday’s loss, Powell missed 2 key free throws in the final minute that kept Atlanta within arms reach.

    Chris Boucher left it all on the court with 29 points on 66.7% shooting. He grabbed 9 rebounds enroute to another solid outing off the bench. Aron Baynes had his best night as a Raptor with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

    It was another milestone moment for Kyle Lowry, who became the Raptors 2nd All-Time Leading Scorer, leap-frogging NBA Hall of fame finalist, Chris Bosh. He finished with 17 points and 12 assists in the loss.

    Toronto falls to 17-20 on season, and 0-3 in games without Siakam, VanVleet and Anunoby. With seeds 4-11 separated by 2.5 games, it’s anybody guess where these teams will find themselves with the regular season ends on May 16.

    The team travels to Spectrum Center, to face LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night. Tip off is 7pm EASTERN.

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