The Atlanta Hawks head into Toronto on Wednesday with their second chance at clinching a playoff berth, if they can come out with a win.
The Hawks dropped their first opportunity on Monday in Indiana despite the Pacers playing without four starters George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger and David West.
If Atlanta can come out with a victory tonight, they will be wrapping up their sixth straight playoff berth, and third consecutive under Larry Drew. Drew took over three years ago for former coach Mike Woodson, who is now at the helm of the New York Knicks.
Last time out against the Raptors, the Hawks squeaked out a 93-92 home victory on Jan. 30, with Al Horford scoring the game-winning basket. Horford and Josh Smith combined for 42 points and 21 rebounds that game.
Atlanta had entered the fourth quarter leading by six points but found themselves trailing 92-89 after Alan Anderson’s 3-pointer gave the Raptors the lead with 1:08 remaining. Luckily for the Atlanta, Horford steadied the ship and scored the final four points of the game to lift the Hawks to a one-point victory.
Jeff Teague missed a layup with 58 seconds left but Horford pulled down the offensive rebound and drew a foul to earn a trip to the charity-stripe. He sank both free-throw attempts to bring the Hawks within one point of tying the score.
On Toronto’s ensuing possession, good Atlanta defensed forced a bad shot from backup point guard John Lucas, which allowed Korver to control the carom, setting up a Hawks timeout with 27.8 seconds remaining.
Atlanta then executed a beautifully drawn up played by coach LD, which resulted in a wide-open layup for Horford to put the Hawks up 93-92.
Korver had taken up all the focus in the play as he inbounded the ball, ran above a double screen set up by Smith and Horford across the foul-line, curled down to the low right block, then cut back up above a Horford down pick, causing Gray to cheat out on the double, which allowed Horford to slip the screen and be left wide open under the hoop for the easiest possible game-clinching basket.
Hopefully the Hawks get the same outcome on Wednesday, but in an easier fashion.
Who?: Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors
What?: Eastern Conference Showdown (Game #72, Road Game #37)
Where?: Air Canada Centre (Toronto, Ontario)
When?: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 – 7:00 PM (EST)
How?: SportSouth HDTV / 93.7 FM
Projected Starting Lineups
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: DeShawn Stevenson | SF: Kyle Korver | PF: Josh Smith | C: Al Horford
PG: Kyle Lowry | SG: DeMar DeRozan | SF: Terrence Ross | PF: Amir Johnson | C: Jonas Valanciunas
Injury/Inactive Players Report
Atlanta Hawks: Devin Harris (sore left foot) is questionable. Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) and Lou Williams (torn ACL, right knee) are out.
Toronto Raptors: Rudy Gay (sore back) and Sebastian Telfair (sore back) are day-to-day. Andrea Bargnani (right elbow sprain) is out.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (39-32) … Toronto Raptors (26-44)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Lost 1 / HOME: Lost 1 / ROAD: Lost 1 … Toronto Raptors –> OVERALL: Lost 4 / HOME: Lost 2 / ROAD: Lost 4
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (17-19) away … Raptors are (17-18) at home.
Atlanta Hawks: Cold. Atlanta dropped the first chance of clinching a playoff berth on Monday at Indiana and have lost three of their last five games overall.
Toronto Raptors: Cold. The Raptors have lost four straight and 7-of-10 overall.
Season/Past Season Series
The Hawks head north of the border for the only time this year in the second-of-three games with Toronto. Atlanta posted a 93-92 home triumph in the first meeting on 1/30. Al Horford (22 points/10 rebounds) and Josh Smith (20 points/11 boards) each posted a double-double for the Hawks, while DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and Kyle Lowry had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Atlanta hosts Toronto again on 4/16 to finish the season series. The Hawks have taken two straight games against the Raptors overall and have won four straight in Toronto. The Raptors last win in the series was a 102-86 triumph at Philips Arena on 4/15/12 and their last home win came on 3/17/10 (106-105). The Hawks lead the all-time series 38-27, including an 18-14 road record.
LAST MEETING — HAWKS 93, RAPTORS 92 — PHILIPS ARENA (ATL, GA) — 1/30/13
For the third straight home game, Atlanta found themselves down double-digits but managed to come back again, topping Toronto 93-92, running their winning streak at Philips Arena to three games. The Raptors led by as-many-as-13 in the first half before the Hawks trimmed to 10 at halftime. Atlanta opened the third quarter on a 16-6 run to even things up and eventually took a 75-69 to the final frame. Toronto regained the upper hand and was clinging to a 92-89 advantage with under one to play on Alan Anderson’s three-pointer. Al Horford answered with two free throws, and after a defensive stop, the Hawks center struck again with an uncontested dunk off an inbounds play to the home team up 93-92. Horford then stepped up on the defensive end recording two blocks and grabbing a defensive rebounds on Toronto’s final possession. Horford finished the night with 22 points and 10 boards, while Josh Smith tallied 20 points and hauled down 11 caroms. Kyle Korver added 17 points. DeMar DeRozan paced all scorers with 23.
Raptors assistant coach Johnny Davis is a former Hawks player, assistant coach and once served as the club’s Community Relations Director. Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson coached Landry Fields as an assistant with the Knicks from 2010-12. Johan Petro and Linas Kleiza were teammates with Denver for part of the 2008-09 season. Kyle Korver and John Lucas III teamed-up in Chicago (2010-12).
Information was used from the Hawks and Raptors official gamenotes