Atlanta Hawks Host DeMarre Carroll’s Toronto Raptors


The Atlanta Hawks (12-8) welcome back former Small Forward DeMarre Carroll and the Toronto Raptors (11-7) Wednesday night at the Highlight Factory.

The Atlanta Hawks will host the Toronto Raptors tonight at 8:00 PM ET at Philips Arena. This will be the first time that former starting Small Forward DeMarre Carroll will return to Atlanta since signing with the Toronto Raptors on a lucrative three-year deal in the offseason.

Carroll’s return to Atlanta will again spark great memories of how well the Hawks played during their magical run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. In the Atlanta Hawks’ 16 playoff games last year, Carroll emerged as an elite small forward, essentially playing his way out of Atlanta by earning a contract the Hawks couldn’t afford to pay him.

-= Related: Atlanta Hawks Beat OKC Thunder at Home, 106-100 =-

Last season, three of the Atlanta Hawks’ 22 losses on the year came against the Toronto Raptors. With the terrific backcourt of Point Guard Kyle Lowry and Shooting Guard DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors under Head Coach Dwane Casey have routinely torched the Hawks’ perimeter defense.

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Adding both a great perimeter defender and shooter in Carroll, along with the continued development of Center Jonas Valanciunas makes Toronto an Atlantic Division favorite and a dangerous team capable of making a deep playoff run.

While Atlanta may feel pretty good about itself after between Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and Russell Westbrook‘s Oklahoma City Thunder team 106-100 on Monday night, Atlanta needs to come out sharp against this Raptors team that is full of sharpshooters. Only 4 games separates the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers from the tenth-place Detroit Pistons in the top-heavy Eastern Conference of 2015-16.

In the Mike Budenholzer Era, there are three teams in each conference that I don’t like to see the Atlanta Hawks face for matchup purposes. The West has been San Antonio, Memphis, and Golden State for obvious reasons. In the East, I’d have to say those three teams are Cleveland, Toronto, and Detroit. Playing Boston isn’t a ton of fun either.

To win tonight over the 11-7 Toronto Raptors, the Atlanta Hawks will need to play arguably their best defensive game on the perimeter all year. DeRozan is one of the best at creating his own shot in the league and adding Carroll not only replaces the sharp-shooting of last year’s Sixth Man and former Hawk Lou Williams, but gives Toronto a defensive identity they didn’t have last year.

Next: Mike Budenholzer's Edge Against The West Key For Hawks

I don’t enjoy playing the Raptors because they have the ability to blow teams out of the water on offense and hopefully the Atlanta Hawks find their shooting stroke early. They will certainly need it tonight. Go Hawks!