Hawks looking for fifth consecutive win - on SportsSouth
By NOEY KUPCHAN
January 12, 2011
The Atlanta Hawks are starting to heat up. Weather seems to be the only thing that can stop them.
A day after a winter storm forced a postponement, the Hawks will look for their fifth consecutive win when they travel to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Atlanta (25-14) defeated Indiana 108-93 on Saturday due in large part to going 11 for 22 from beyond the arc. Mike Bibby led the way with four 3s and Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson added three apiece.
The Hawks are converting 37.5 percent of their 3-pointers this season, but 49.4 percent (41 of 83) during their winning streak in which Atlanta has won by an average of 13.3 points .
"When we can swing the ball and get open looks, we're tough to beat," said Josh Smith, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds.
Smith, averaging 20.0 points over his last six contests, recorded consecutive double-doubles versus the Raptors before registering 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists for his third career triple-double in a 96-78 win on Nov. 28.
Johnson has also been playing well, scoring 24 points against Indiana and recording an average of 27.5 in his last four games - 8.9 more than his season average. He has made 10 of 18 from 3-point range during the Hawks' winning streak.
Atlanta is 9-3 since Johnson returned from elbow surgery Dec. 17, holding teams to 90.7 points per game. The Hawks also have taken eight of 10 from the Raptors, outscoring them by an average of 14.2 points in the victories.
Toronto (13-24) is coming off a 118-112 win over Sacramento on Sunday as DeMar DeRozan continues to emerge as a rising star.
Selected ninth overall in 2009, DeRozan had 28 points - his second-highest total this season - and is averaging 23.8 during his last six games.
"He's starting to really come into his own as an offensive player, especially when he can drive the ball to the basket like he did tonight," Toronto coach Jay Triano said of DeRozan, second on the team with 14.8 points per game.
Andrea Bargnani, who is averaging a team-best 21.5 points, scored 30 against the Kings. The top overall pick in 2006, though, struggled against the Hawks in November, going 6 of 17 from the field to finish with 14 points.
The Raptors received some good news as Sonny Weems practiced Tuesday and could return to face the Hawks. Weems, averaging 11.5 points, had started 18 consecutive games before missing 11 with a back injury.
Toronto is allowing 105.3 points per game - among the league's worst. Atlanta is averaging 108.3 during a three-game road winning streak.
Tuesday's postponed game with Milwaukee has been rescheduled for March 15 at Philips Arena.