Raptors-Hawks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 29, 2013
After having their winning streak snapped, the Atlanta Hawks may be able to bounce back quickly against a Toronto Raptors team they've dominated recently. The Hawks look for their fourth win in five games Wednesday night when they host the short-handed Raptors, who have lost 11 of 13 in the series. After a rough 2-8 stretch, the Hawks (25-19) showed some signs of life with three straight wins - albeit against struggling Minnesota, Charlotte and Boston - before falling 106-104 at first-place New York on Sunday. "They just made plays," said Jeff Teague, who had a team-high 27 points. "Things just didn't go our way." Atlanta, though, has enjoyed a rebirth offensively, averaging 102.5 points in regulation in its last four games while shooting 52.1 percent from the field - 44.0 percent on 3-pointers. The Hawks had scored 88.6 per game on 44.0 percent shooting and 36.0 percent from beyond the arc in their previous 10. Al Horford (22.7), Josh Smith (22.3), Kyle Korver (20.3) and Jeff Teague (20.0) are each averaging at least 20 points in his last three games. They should be able to keep it going against the Raptors (16-29), who have allowed 104.0 points per game in regulation over their last nine following a 114-102 loss to Golden State on Monday. Toronto has lost seven of those nine contests, continuing to be plagued by injuries. The Raptors are expected to again play without Linas Kleiza (sore knee), Andrea Bargnani (torn elbow ligament) and Jonas Valanciunas (broken finger). Kyle Lowry (back spasms) is a game-time decision. "I see fatigue, I see mental and physical fatigue," coach Dwane Casey said. It doesn't figure to get any easier Wednesday for Toronto, which had lost seven straight trips to Atlanta before a 102-86 victory behind DeMar DeRozan's 23 points April 15. The Hawks won 109-87 in Toronto the following night in the teams' most recent meeting as Teague had 19 points and 10 assists. Teague has averaged 19.1 points and 8.3 assists over his last seven games for Atlanta, which shot a season-best 60.0 percent from the field Sunday despite losing. The Hawks allowed their second-highest field-goal percentage at 54.2 percent and 16 of 27 from beyond the arc. They had limited opponents under 100 points in regulation in 13 of 14 before Sunday. They'll try to tighten things up against a Toronto team that has averaged 107.8 points and shot 48.9 percent in its last six road games. The Raptors have gone 3-3 in that span with two losses coming in overtime. Ed Davis has stepped up lately, averaging 14.6 points on 55.4 percent shooting and 8.3 rebounds over the last 11 games. Alan Anderson also has played well, with 17.1 points per game over the last seven. Despite averaging 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds, Aaron Gray contributed a career-high 22 and 10, respectively, against the Warriors.
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