Trae Young leads the Atlanta Hawks past Toronto Raptors despite career-night from Chris Boucher | NBA.com Canada

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The Toronto Raptors fell to the Atlanta Hawks 132-121 despite a career-high 29 points from Chris Boucher.

The Hawks star tandem of Trae Young and Clint Capela dominated with both players notching monster double-doubles. Young went for 28 points and 13 assists while Capela had 23 points and 16 rebounds.

The loss snaps the Raptors three-game win streak, as well as a 10-game winning streak they held against Atlanta.

For more on the hard-fought loss, we have you covered with some thoughts below.

1. Trae Young’s return

Prior to this contest against the Raptors, Young missed his second game of the season due to calf soreness.

The All-Star guard made his return in this one, picking up right where he left off with a double-double of 28 points and 13 assists, commanding the entire game.

While it wasn’t his most prolific night, shooting 6-for-15 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, Young did the majority of his damage at the free throw line, going 14-for-14 from the charity stripe.

Although Young got off to a rather inefficient start to the season, he’s still producing All-Star-calibre numbers averaging 26.6 points, 9.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

2. Is Chris Boucher back?

Boucher got off to a roaring start to the season, looking like a Most Improved Player of the Year candidate. After an impressive stretch of games, the big man’s playing time tailed off a little bit.

After a strong bounce-back game in a win over the Brooklyn Nets last night, going for 17 points, nine boards and two blocks off the bench, Boucher brought the energy again in this one.

The Canadian centre packed a punch in 33 minutes of playing time, going for a career-high 29 points to go with 10 rebounds.. This poster dunk on Clint Capela was one of the best highlights of the game.

Efforts like this one should buy Boucher some more consistent playing time once again moving forward.

3. Another game, another Clint Capela double-double

The Hawks traded for Clint Capela at the trade deadline last season but the big man never got to suit up for his new team due to a lignering heel injury. In his debut season for Atlanta in 2020-21, the 26-year-old centre has been nothing short of amazing.

Capela has recorded double-digit rebounds in every game he’s played in so far this season, leading the league with 14.5 rebounds per game. As a result, the rim-runner has 14 double-doubles, including another double-double effort tonight.

Capela dominated the Raptors down low, going for 23 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks while shooting an efficient 10-for-13 from the field. It’s not hard to be efficient when you get looks like the one below – one of many alley-oop connections between he and Young on the night.

4. Starter Norman Powell continues to step up

As a ‘sixth starter’ of sorts, Powell has stepped up whenever his number is called to fill in the starting lineup. This contest against the Hawks was no different.

Powell’s scoring burst gave the Raptors a fighting chance, going for 20 points with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. It was his sixth 20-plus-point game in his last seven contests, continuing a strong stretch of play after getting out to a rough start to the season.

5. DeAndre’ Bembry has established a rotation spot

The Raptors signed Bembry to a two-year deal this past offseason, so it was a bit confusing when the wiry veteran wing struggled to find consistent playing time early on in the season. As a player that brings energy on the defensive end and on the glass, he seemed like a prototypical Raptor.

After receiving nine “Did Not Play’s” in the team’s first 18 games of the season, only playing double-digit mintues once, it seems as though Bembry has finally cracked the rotation.

In the four games prior to this one, Bembry averaged 20.3 minutes per game making balanced contributions of 7.0 points, 3.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 50% from 3.

He gave head coach Nick Nurse more quality minutes in this with an effective six points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block off the bench.

6. Raptors’ back-to-backs

In three sets of back-to-backs so far this season, the Raptors own a 2-4 record.

They went 0-2 against the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers in their first back-to-back, then split their back-to-back against the Indiana Pacers 1-1. After defeating the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, they dropped the back end tonight.

They have another back-to-back on the horizon facing the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, this upcoming week.

7. What’s next?

Following the loss, Toronto drops to 10-13 on the season while Atlanta advances to 11-12. The Raptors will have one day off before continuing their road swing with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. The Hawks will have a couple days off before traveling to take on the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

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