Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Kyle Lowry netted 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, sparking a huge late surge that propelled the Toronto Raptors to a 96-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Air Canada Centre.
Down 74-60 with under 11 1/2 minutes to play, the Raptors outscored the Hawks by a 36-12 count the rest of the way to bounce back from Friday's stinging double-overtime loss to Oklahoma City.
DeMar DeRozan added 10 points during the final frame and finished with 21, with Jonas Valanciunas posting 13 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
Atlanta, which shot a miserable 27.3 percent (6-for-22) during its fourth- quarter fade, received 17 points each from Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll. Jeff Teague recorded 16 points in a potentially damaging defeat for the Eastern Conference's current eighth seed.
Toronto's rally began with a 13-0 stretch in which Lowry, Nando de Colo and DeRozan all buried 3-pointers, with the latter's trimming Atlanta's once- sizeable lead down to 74-73 with 7:31 remaining. The Raptors drew even just over two minutes later, when Amir Johnson tipped home his own miss to create a 79-79 deadlock.
Millsap's trey with 3:52 left snapped an 81-81 tie, but the Raptors closed out the contest on a 15-2 burst as the Hawks' offense went cold down the stretch. Lowry sealed the win with a pair of late buckets, the first a floater in the lane with 43.9 seconds to go and the other an uncontested layup off a steal that put Toronto up 93-86.
"You've got to give Toronto credit, they made plays in the fourth quarter," said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer. "We missed shots, our execution wasn't there."
Atlanta led by as many as 14 points in the first half, using a 7-0 burst capped by a Millsap three to build a 40-26 advantage just past the midway mark of the second quarter. Toronto scored the next six points, however, and closed within 49-42 at the break when Valanciunas threw down a slam in the final seconds.
The Raptors then came out strong to start the second half, with a Lowry 3- pointer igniting an 8-3 spurt ending with a Valanciunas bucket that trimmed the deficit to 52-50.
"We didn't start off plying at a high level," said Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez. "In the third quarter we were a little better, then we got it going in the fourth."
Atlanta regrouped, however, and countered with a 9-1 sequence highlighted by Shelvin Mack's 3-point play to push the difference back to double-digits, 61-51, with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. The Hawks took a 71-60 lead into the fourth after back-to-back Mike Scott baskets to finish out the period.
The Hawks shot 56 percent during a first quarter in which the Raptors struggled offensively, going just 5-of-18 from the field and committing seven turnovers. Atlanta opened up a 13-5 edge five minutes in on the strength on an 8-0 run, then later extended the margin to 23-12 following a Carroll jumper with 1:05 left in the frame.
Toronto connected on 12-of-20 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter ... Lowry extended his career-high streak of games with 19 or more points to nine ... Hawks guard Kyle Korver sat out a second straight game due to back spasms ... The teams split the four-game season series, with the home team prevailing in each matchup ... The Hawks had registered a 118-113 overtime win over Toronto in Atlanta on Tuesday.