The Atlanta Hawks go for the season sweep over the visiting Toronto Raptors tonight, while trying to stay ahead of the Chicago Bulls in the playoff race with just two games remaining.
A sweep might be tough, as the Hawks will be without Al Horford and DeShawn Stevenson. They are 2-4 without Horford this season. Johan Petro will fill-in.
Atlanta sits in fifth place, a half game ahead of sixth-place Chicago, and needs to win tonight against Toronto and Wednesday in New York in order to safely clinch the #5 seed. If the Hawks lose one-of-two, they need the Bulls to lose Wednesday’s game. If they drop both remaining games, they’ll slip to sixth and Chicago will get the #5 seed because they own the tiebreaker over Atlanta.
As for the Raptors, their playoff hopes are non-existent but that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on the season. Toronto is going into Atlanta with a three-game win streak, two of which were against Chicago in a back-to-back set, and the makings of a lethal duo in DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay.
In their most recent win, a 93-87 home victory over the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets on Monday, DeRozan dropped a game-high 36 points and Gay chipped in with 26 and 10 rebounds. In the pair of wins against the Bulls, Gay averaged 21 points and DeRozan averaged 19.5 points.
The Hawks snapped a three-game skid last week and have now won their previous two in a row, averaging 116.5 points while shooting 52.3 percent.
Josh Smith has lit it up recently against the Raptors as he’s scoring 24.7 points ppg on 56.4 percent shooting while grabbing 11.3 rebounds in his last three home games in this series.
DeRozan has scored 23 in each of his last two trips to Atlanta and averaged 22.8 ppg on 53.8 percent shooting over his last six overall.
Toronto has averaged 90 points in two losses to the Hawks this season. Atlanta is averaging 100 points while shooting 48.7 percent in those games.
A win would give the Hawks their second series sweep over the Raptors in the past three seasons.
Who?: Atlanta Hawks vs Toronto Raptors
What?: Series Finale (Game #81, Home Game #41)
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 8:00 PM (ET)
Projected Starting Lineups:
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Devin Harris | SF: Kyle Korver | PF: Josh Smith | C: Johan Petro
PG: Kyle Lowry | SG: DeMar DeRrozan | SF: Rudy Gay | PF: Amir Johnson | C: Aaron Gray
Injury/Inactive Players Report
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford (shoulder), DeShawn Stevenson (cold), Zaza Pachulia (Achilles surgery) and Lou Williams (torn right ACL) are out.
Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas (neck) is day-to-day. Andrea Bargnani (right elbow sprain) is out.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (44-36) … Toronto Raptors (32-48)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Won 2 / HOME: Win 1 / ROAD: Won 1 … Toronto Raptors –> OVERALL: Won 3 / HOME: Won 3 / ROAD: Won 1
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (25-15) at home … Raptors are (12-28) away.
Atlanta Hawks: Lukewarm. Winners of two straight, Atlanta looks for it’s second straight season sweep over Toronto.
Toronto Raptors: Hot. Raptors stroll into Atlanta riding a three-game winning streak with Sunday’s win against Brooklyn and back-to-back wins against Chicago.
Season/Past Season Series
Toronto visits Philips Arena for the second time in the third-and-final meeting with the Hawks. Atlanta sports a 2-0 record in the season series, posting a 93-92 home win on 1/30 and 107-88 road triumph on 3/27. Al Horford (22 points/10 rebounds) and Josh Smith (20 points/11 boards) recorded double-doubles in the first game, while DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and Kyle Lowry (14 points/10 rebounds) had a double-double. Horford tallied 26 points and 12 boards in the second contest and Jeff Teague added 24 points and 13 assists. Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 19 and Rudy Gay had 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Hawks have won three straight overall against the Raptors, including the last meeting at Philips Arena (1/30/13). Toronto’s last win in the series came on 4/15/12 in Atlanta (102-86). The Hawks lead the all-time series 39-27, including a 20-13 home mark.
LAST MEETING — HAWKS 108, RAPTORS 88 — AIR CANADA CENTRE (TORONTO) — 3/27/13
After falling behind 54-44 at the half, the Hawks erupted in final 24 minutes, outscoring Toronto 63-34 on the way to a 107-88 road victory. Atlanta evened things at 75 after three quarters and then won the fourth 32-13. Al Horford (26 points/12 rebounds) and Jeff Teague (24 points/13 assists) each had double-doubles, while Josh Smith added 19 points. Five Raptors hit double-figures in scoring led by Jonas Valanciunas with 19. Rudy Gay chipped in with 15 points and 12 boards. Atlanta shot .494 from the field for the game, hit 10-21 3FGs (.476) and 17-20 FTs (.850), and dished out 27 assists. Toronto made .449 from the field, making 4-17 from behind the arc (.235) and 14-20 FTs (.700). The Hawks also forced 20 Toronto turnovers, leading to 24 points, while committing just 11 miscues (zero in the fourth quarter).
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). Anthony Tolliver and Sebastian Telfair played together with Minnesota for part of the 2010-11 season. Dahntay Jones and Rudy Gay teamed together in Memphis in 2006-07.
Information was used from the Hawks and Raptors official gamenotes