Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Mike Bibby’s three-pointer proved to be the difference in a frenetic finish at Air Canada Centre, as the Atlanta Hawks used a big game by Jamal Crawford to edge the Toronto Raptors, 104-101.
Crawford dropped in 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting to carry Atlanta to a fifth straight win.
“I thought my teammates and coaches did a good job of running plays and getting the ball to me,” Crawford said.
Joe Johnson added 26 points, while Al Horford chipped in 10 points and 13 rebounds for the victors.
Leandro Barbosa and Andrea Bargnani each scored 26 points to pace the Raptors, but the latter missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that could have sent the game to overtime.
Toronto was on top 77-75 heading to the fourth and led 95-91 following a Bargnani pullup jumper down the stretch. The lead, though, changed hands five times in the final 1:20.
Crawford got the drama started with a 33-foot three-pointer, then assisted to Horford underneath for the go-ahead basket following a Toronto turnover.
Bargnani answered with a three of his own, only to have Crawford put Atlanta back on top with three free throws with 53.5 seconds to go.
Horford fouled Amir Johnson under the basket at the other end, and the Raptors forward somehow got his layup to roll in and added the subsequent free throw with 45.6 showing for a 101-99 cushion.
Crawford missed an open three from the left corner, though the Hawks got the ball back when Amir Johnson was whistled for an illegal screen with 10.5 ticks on the clock.
Bibby, who was 1-for-7 coming out of the Hawks’ timeout, took the inbounds pass from midcourt and fired from the top of the key, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net for a 102-101 game.
With 8.2 seconds left, Jose Calderon tried taking Horford off the dribble through the lane. Horford, who has seven inches on Calderon, stayed with the point guard and blocked his shot out of bounds.
The call on the court originally gave the Raptors possession, but replay showed the ball hit Calderon as he was sprawled out on the baseline with two seconds to go. The ruling was reversed, and Joe Johnson made two free throws a second later.
Bargnani had a good look with minimal time to catch and shoot, and his deep attempt hit off the rim to send Toronto to its fifth loss in seven games.
Crawford’s driving bucket in the closing seconds of the first quarter yielded a 27-21 lead, and the Hawks played front-runner throughout the second stanza, eventually taking a 60-55 cushion into the break.
A Maurice Evans three-pointer 4 1/2 minutes into the third extended the margin to 70-61, but the Raptors scored 15 of the next 17 points, the last six coming from Barbosa for a 76-72 lead with 1:15 remaining.
Atlanta was slated to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday until the game was moved to March 15 at Philips Arena due to heavy snow and icy road conditions…Atlanta has won nine of the last 11 meetings…Calderon logged 11 points and nine assists for Toronto, which shot 54 percent from the floor but was outscored at the foul line, 25-9…Josh Smith was just 3-for-15 from the floor and ended with nine points and nine rebounds for Atlanta.