Hawks hope to catch weary Raptors at right time
Maybe the Atlanta Hawks can change their luck against a team coming off a back-to-back.
The Hawks will take any sort of break they can Wednesday when they host the Toronto Raptors. Atlanta has lost eight straight games and hopes to find a Toronto team a bit leg weary from Tuesday’s strenuous game against Orlando.
The Hawks (3-14) have not won since Nov. 3. They’ve dropped 12 of their last 13, including Monday’s 127-119 loss to the Los Angels Clippers.
The Raptors (14-4) defeated the Orlando Magic 93-91 on Tuesday night. Toronto has won two straight since losing three in a row.
Toronto has fared well in back-to-backs, though. They’ve won both games twice and split two other times, having yet to be swept in a back-to-back this season.
If the Raptors follow the same plan, forward Kawhi Leonard will not play against the Hawks. The veteran has not competed in back-to-back games this season. Leonard scored 18 on Tuesday.
The Raptors beat the Magic when Danny Green scored with less than a second remaining. Although Toronto won the game, its streak of 20 straight contests with 100 or more points was broken and fell short of the club record of 23.
“I think as a team we are playing better,” Serge Ibaka told the Toronto Sun.
Kyle Lowry, a four-time All-Star, showed no ill effects from the twisted ankle suffered against the Bulls. He played 32 minutes against the Magic, scoring nine points and handing out seven assists. Lowry leads the league in assists and has 10 games of 10 or more.
Atlanta could be catching Toronto at a good time. The Raptors are finishing a road trip that featured four games over six days.
“I know everybody in Atlanta wants us to win now,” rookie point guard Trae Young said. “It’s tough because we’re right there. It’s just that finish, and we’re going to get it done.”
Young, a first-round draft choice out of Oklahoma, broke from a three-game scoring slump to score 25 points and hand out a career-high 17 assists Monday. Young became the fourth rookie in NBA history to have 25 points and 17 assists in a game, the first since Jason Kidd in 1995. Only three Hawks have had that stat line in their career — Johnny Davis in 1983 and Lenny Wilkens in 1968.
Young had been limited to single digits, including only four points against Golden State over the previous three games.
The club is said to be shopping guard Kent Bazemore. If so, the veteran isn’t letting it bother him. He’s averaging 14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He’s also first in the league in loose balls recovered (34).
This will be the first of three meetings this year. Toronto has won the last four meetings, sweeping the series a year ago, and have won the last two games in Atlanta.
Atlanta may be without forward Omari Spellman, who started but played only 14 minutes. Spellman left with a bruised right hip Monday. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Toronto will return home Friday for a game against Washington. Atlanta continues its four-game homestand on Friday against Boston.