The Toronto Raptors have been rampaging through December by winning 10 games in 11 attempts, but back-to-back defeats have them looking to get back on track in Friday’s home contest against the Atlanta Hawks. Toronto fell 124-107 on Wednesday at Oklahoma City, falling flat offensively one night after a 98-93 defeat at Dallas in losing consecutive games for just the third time this season.
“We didn’t earn either game,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey told the media after Wednesday’s defeat. “We didn’t earn (Tuesday) night the way we played and we didn’t earn the game (Wednesday) in the stretches we played bad.” Even rarer than the Raptors losing back-to-back games is Atlanta winning consecutive contests, which the Hawks accomplished for the first time this season with Wednesday’s 113-99 home triumph over Washington. “Everybody was just locked in for 48 minutes,” Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder told reporters after Wednesday’s victory, just the ninth of the season for Atlanta. The Hawks finished a season sweep of Dallas with Saturday’s 112-107 victory, after losing six of their previous seven.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), TSN2 (Toronto)
ABOUT THE HAWKS (9-25): Schroder leads seven players averaging in double figures scoring at 19.9 points per game, and has combined for 54 points on 20-of-37 shooting from the field in Atlanta’s past two victories. Ersan Ilyasova scored 20 points Wednesday and Marco Belinelli added 19 points, combining to shoot 5-of-10 from 3-point range. The Hawks entered Thursday tied for sixth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (38 percent).
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (23-10): Guard DeMar DeRozan leads the Raptors in scoring at 24.1 points per game (12th in the NBA), but is 7-for-32 from the field in scoring a combined 23 points in the past two games. Forward C.J. Miles scored a team-high 20 points against Oklahoma City, hitting 6-of-12 3-point attempts. The Raptors are 12-1 at home and have won their past 10 games at Air Canada Centre.
1. Atlanta rookie F John Collins is fourth in the NBA in field-goal percentage, shooting 61.7 percent.
2. Toronto C Lucas Nogueira played Wednesday after missing 12 games with a right calf injury.
3. The Raptors blasted the Hawks 112-78 in Atlanta on Nov. 25 in their first meeting of the season.
PREDICTION: Raptors 113, Hawks 97