Saturday, February 4 2023

You don’t see buzzer-beating alley-oops very often. The Atlanta Hawks connected on one as time expired to beat the Raptors, 124-122, in overtime on Saturday. 

Trailing by eight with two and a half minutes to play, the Hawks rallied to force overtime and could’ve sealed the game with a pair of De’Andre Hunter free throws with eight seconds to play. Hunter missed them both. O.G Anunoby tied the game with 3.8 seconds to play with a pair of his own free throws on the other end. 

Atlanta didn’t have a timeout left, meaning it had to go the length of the court for a potential game-winner. Look at the play Atlanta dialed up to stun the Raptors with a buzzer-beating alley-oop. 

That is a thing of beauty. You can see Young is being face-guarded on the inbounds pass, meaning when he takes off the other way he’s going to be ahead of his defender. This plays almost like a hook-and-ladder in football, with Murray catching and immediately flipping to a streaking Young who is catching at full speed against a flat-footed defense. 

Meanwhile, rookie AJ Griffin had leaked out after the made free throw, and the Raptors, Scottie Barnes in particular, simply lost track of him as they concentrated their efforts on defending full court. Once Young broke free, there was nobody back to cover Griffin, and Young knew he had just enough time to toss an uncontested alley-oop for the win. 

Credit Nate McMillan for a superb play design, and the Hawks for executing it perfectly. It earned them a big early season win over a conference rival they could find themselves battling later on for playoff positioning. With the victory, the Hawks moved to 10-6 on the year, good enough for the East’s No. 3 spot at the moment. 



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