The Atlanta Hawks are back on the road with a game tonight with the Toronto Raptors. After giving a late-game comeback fell short against the Raptors on MLK Day, the Hawks will get another crack at Toronto.
Despite all the madness and grief felt after the shocking Kobe Bryant news, the Atlanta Hawks played on of their best games of the season, beating the Washington Wizards. With the win, the Hawks have now won two of their last three games. Coming into tonight’s game, the Hawks will have a much more difficult task on their hands.
The defending NBA Champions, Toronto Raptors, are playing their best basketball of the season. Toronto has won seven in a row, including wins over the Thunder and 76ers. Also, in the middle of this winning streak, was the Hawks game where the Raptors were pushed to the brink by the Hawks late-game surge. During their current seven-game winning streak, only the Spurs played the Raptors closer than the Hawks the last time these two teams met.
If the Hawks want to finish what they couldn’t in the last game, beat the Raptors, the team will have to do it shorthanded, literally. Alex Len and Bruno Fernando have already been ruled out for tonight’s contest. With the two big men out tonight, Lloyd Pierce and the Hawks will need to turn to John Collins to play the center position tonight against the Raps. While the Hawks rebounding may take a hit tonight, Coach Pierce can experiment with a small-ball lineup, which could include a lineup with Trae Young, Brandon Goodwin, and Jeff Teague. Coach Pierce has made it known he’s interested to see what the three guards can do on the floor together. Tonight’s game will be ideal to try that three-point guard lineup out.
Like the Hawks, the Raptors broke a long losing streak in San Antonio by beating the Spurs on Monday night. Led by fellow All-Star starter, Pascal Siakam, who had 35, the Raptors beat the Spurs by holding on to a late lead. Similar to the Hawks game, the Raptors nearly blew a big lead in the fourth quarter after having a big lead in the prior three quarters. After such an emotional win and night for the Raptors and entire NBA, the Hawks are primed to pick off the Raptors in tonight’s game.
The Hawks will tip-off tonight in Toronto at 7:30. Let’s see if Norm Powell will have to bail out the Raptors tonight as he did in Atlanta a few games ago. The Hawks will be going for two in a row. Go Hawks!