Hawks-Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors have a day off between games, though it might not feel that way considering the way their last one ended. They probably would have preferred to get right back to work and forget about it.

The Raptors will get that opportunity Sunday at home against the Atlanta Hawks.

Friday night at home against Oklahoma City, Toronto (38-30) let an eight-point lead slip away in the final minute of the second overtime and watched Kevin Durant drain a buzzer-beating prayer to hand the Raptors a stunning 119-118 loss.

"Yeah, yeah … I thought we had it," guard DeMar DeRozan told the team’s official website.

Despite the letdown, DeRozan, who scored a team-high 33 points that were dwarfed by Durant’s 51, said the game had an epic feel.

"It came down to the last shot, those are the types of games you live for," said DeRozan, who is averaging 31.0 points in his last three games. "We can’t win every game and we wish we would have got that one, but it still was a helluva game."

Amir Johnson had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Kyle Lowry scored 25 and Greivis Vasquez added 21 off the bench as the Raptors lost back-to-back home games for the first time since December.

Johnson is averaging 17.5 in his last six games, while Lowry has cracked 20 in five straight and is averaging 23.6 in that span.

As a team, the Atlantic Division leaders are averaging 112.8 points in their last four but have one win to show for it.

Brooklyn’s 9-2 record this month has quickly lifted the Nets within 1 1/2 games of the division lead, so there’s no time for Toronto to dwell on the Oklahoma City game.

"It’s really tough to lose, but we lost, so we learn from it and bounce back," Lowry said.

Atlanta (31-36) saw a much-needed five-game winning streak come to an end in Friday’s 111-105 home loss to New Orleans. Prior to the streak, the Hawks had dropped 14 of 15, and their playoff standing just about fell through the floor.

The last two times the Hawks have followed a win with a defeat, losing streaks of at least six games have ensued. A similar skid could allow the surging New York Knicks to blow by them for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Against the Pelicans, Atlanta led entering the fourth quarter but allowed 42 points in the final 12 minutes.

"At the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth quarter, our defense didn’t execute," said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, whose team played without starting shooting guard Kyle Korver due to back spasms.

Jeff Teague’s 26 points led the way for the Hawks, while Paul Millsap added 20. Teague is averaging 30.0 on 55.9 percent shooting in his last two games, the first of which was against the Raptors.

The Hawks’ last victory on the five-game streak was a 118-113 home overtime win over Toronto on Tuesday. Teague led all scorers with 34, while Millsap had 19 points and 13 rebounds.

DeRozan, who scored 29 and grabbed 10 boards, is averaging 30.3 points in his last four against the Hawks.

Atlanta has won two of three in the season series, though it suffered a 104-83 loss in the only meeting in Toronto.

The Hawks have won two straight road games for the second time this season after losing their previous 10.