The Atlanta Hawks haven’t experienced much joy this season and take aim at winning back-to-back games for the first time in the campaign when they host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Atlanta will try to build off Friday’s 116-104 win over the New York Knicks, just its second home win in eight attempts this season.
The Hawks dropped seven of eight games prior to the solid effort against the Knicks as point guard Dennis Schroder continued his strong play with 26 points and eight assists. The 24-year-old Schroder has scored 20 or more points on 10 occasions and is averaging 20.6 points and 8.2 assists over the past five outings. Toronto arrives in town after consecutive losses to open a three-game trip, including Friday’s 107-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Raptors boasted a four-game winning streak with an average margin of 13.3 points before the back-to-back setbacks against the New York Knicks and Pacers.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TSN (Toronto), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (11-7): All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan had an uncharacteristically low 13-point outing on 6-of-16 shooting and he was disturbed his squad blew a 10-point halftime advantage. “We’ve got to come out to start the third quarter like we’re down 10 points or something,” DeRozan said afterward. “We should come in here and put up a make-believe score at halftime. We have to play with a chip on our shoulder, because it’s a critical part of the game.” Point guard Kyle Lowry had 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and has five double-doubles in the past six games - three via rebounds and two on assists.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (4-15): Center Dewayne Dedmon scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and mixed it up with Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis during Friday’s victory. “The work Dewayne Dedmon does on both ends of the court, and the effort he gives on Porzingis was just great,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said afterward. “Good team win. A lot of guys played well. It was great to get this win. We will get ready for another one (Saturday).” Dedmon has scored in double digits in nine of the past 10 games and is a stellar 45-of-59 from the field over the past eight contests.
1. The Hawks won two of last season’s three meetings.
2. Atlanta F Taurean Prince is 5-of-21 shooting over the past two games.
3. Toronto swingman CJ Miles missed Friday’s game due to the birth of his daughter.
PREDICTION: Raptors 106, Hawks 100