An Eastern Conference showdown plus the final matchup between Kobe and D-Wade offer plenty of reasons to tune in
POSTED: Mar 30, 2016 4:02 PM ET
You won't want to miss Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant face off for the final time tonight.
Two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference square off on NBA TV tonight. The No. 2 seed Raptors hold a 2-0 season series lead over the No. 3 seed Hawks, with their most recent victory coming less than three weeks ago in Toronto. However, that loss was only the third since February 26 for the Hawks, who have the second best record in the league (14-3) over this span. An Atlanta win tonight would pull them within 4.0 games of the Raptors with six games to play, including another matchup with the Raptors on April 7. It's a long shot, but stranger things have happened.
Hawks vs. Raptors
DeMar DeRozan scores 30 points as the Raptors defeat the Hawks 104-96.
The Raptors have lost three of their last four games, which is their worst four-game stretch since mid-December. They were dominated by the Thunder on Monday for just their ninth loss at home this season (28-9 overall) and will try to bounce back against a Hawks team that touts the top defensive rating in the league since January 1. The Raptors have talked all year about the importance of finishing the season strong, so look for them to be extremely motivated to snap out of their funk in front of their home crowd tonight. Despite their recent struggles, the Raptors trail the Cavaliers by only 2.5 games for the No. 1 seed in the East.
Two of the Hawks' usual leaders, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague, have struggled against the Raptors this season with a combined shooting percentage of 29 percent in two losses. Ball movement is always the key for the Hawks' offense as they rank second in the league in assist percentage (66.3 percent). Toronto, meanwhile, ranks last in assist percentage (50.6 percent) while having a more efficient offense than the Hawks. Tune in tonight to see which offensive style prevails as both teams look to finish the last two weeks of the regular season strong.
Arguably the two greatest guards of this generation face off for the final time tonight in Los Angeles. Dwyane Wade has the edge over Kobe Bryant in head-to-head matchups with a record of 11-8. In these 19 games, Bryant averaged 27.3 points on 44.1 percent shooting and 4.9 assists while Wade posted 24.2 points on 44.8 percent shooting and 6.6 assists. Be sure not miss these two legends matchup for the final time. You never know what will happen when they step on the floor.
The Heat enter tonight's matchup just 1.0 game behind the Hawks for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and 0.5 games ahead of Boston and Charlotte. Miami has sizzled over the last two months with the fourth best record in the league since January 25 (20-9). They have been without Chris Bosh (blood clots) for the last 20 games, but have actually been stronger on offense without the All-Star. Since Bosh went down, the Heat have posted the third best offensive rating in the league (up from 24th with Bosh). Joe Johnson has been solid with averages of 12.8 points on 51.4 percent shooting, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 32.0 minutes since coming over from the Nets in mid-February.
The Kobe Bryant farewell tour has flown by and now only eight games remain before the Lakers legend says goodbye to the game. Tonight will mark his fourth last game at Staples Center, so you know the building will be electric. Unfortunately for Bryant and his fans, the young Lakers have struggled mightily this season. On Monday, Utah defeated L.A. by 48 points to tie the largest margin of defeat in Lakers franchise history. The Lakers must finish the season 7-1 to avoid setting a new record for worst season in franchise history, which they set last season at 21-61. Despite their struggles, they have been a fun team to watch during Bryant's farewell tour as young studs D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson all have the ability to show flashes of brilliance.
NBA.com staff reports