Late Collapse

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Tony Snell Hits Buzzers Beater to Sink Undermanned Toronto Raptors

Undermanned due to COVID protocol, the Toronto Raptors collapsed down the stretch.

After a commanding third quarter performance, the Raptors had their sights set on their first win of the unofficial second half of the season, but a rough final frame sunk the Raptors by a score of 121-120 against the upstart Atlanta Hawks. A 37-point Hawks frame was punctuated by a buzzer-beating three pointer for the win from Tony Snell.

“We’re trying to get in,” said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who passed Chris Bosh for second on the team’s all-time scoring list in the heartbreaking loss. “We’ve got to make a push.

“And tonight we had the game and we didn’t finish strong. They scored 37 points in the fourth quarter — that’s way too many points to give up in the fourth quarter. We have the game and they made some great plays down the stretch and we missed some shots, turned the ball over some. Just a rough night for us. We didn’t finish well.”

In what has been an incredibly strange season, the Raptors now sit at 17-20, one spot out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Their season has been up-and-down to say the least, mixed with inconsistency, injuries, and like with many teams – bouts with the COVID-19 virus.

“I think we were pretty determined not to let Young take the last shot,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said on the final possession of the game. “I think that probably makes sense. You don’t want to let him shake you down for that step-back three or deep three or whatever. We did force him inside the line and I thought for sure the time was going to run out. It seemed like he had it forever in there and it probably felt that same way on the floor — that was the shot that was going up. Then the last second he flings it out and happens to find Snell out there all alone and he stepped into it and made it. It was just tough. Would I have rather seen Trae throw up that 14-footer? Right now I would have, yeah.”

For the Raptors, Norman Powell had yet another stellar game, putting up 33 points, while Chris Boucher kept his strong season going with 29 points and 9 boards off the bench. Lowry added 17 points and 12 assists of his own, while Aron Baynes scored 11 points and grabbed 15 boards albeit on a poor 4-for -15 shooting night.

The undermanned Raptors showed effort and a lot of heart, but at the end of the night, it wasn’t enough. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in the NBA is the win, and the Raptors came away without one.

“For me, in the situation we’re in now, I’m just hoping to pick anyone off, just pick one off, to stay in touch, right, until we can kind of get the reinforcements back and [get] back to maybe ourselves,” Nurse said. “And that’s hard because we really, we played our guts out tonight and we did enough to probably win. We were leading the whole second half and leading by a sizeable margin and it never really even got that close until the end.”

The Raptors will need to bounce back quick from this tough loss. Next up for Toronto are the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

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