Game Preview: Raptors vs Hawks

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (39-16) @ Atlanta Hawks (18-35)

When: Thursday, February 7th, 7:30 P.M. ET

Where: State Farm Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas (left thumb dislocation) is listed as questionable. For the Hawks, Miles Plumlee (left knee pain) will be out. Valanciunas has missed the last 25 games with a left thumb dislocation sustained in Toronto’s 113-93 victory against the Golden State Warriors. 

- Balanced effort: The Raptors had a balanced offensive attack in a 119-107 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday on the road. Toronto had six players reach double figures, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 24 points. They also received 20 points apiece from Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, 16 from Pascal Siakam, 14 points from Norman Powell off the bench and another 10 points from Greg Monroe also off the bench. Toronto shot 46 percent from the floor against the Sixers, including 36 percent from beyond the arc, led by Lowry’s 5-for-9 shooting performance from three.

- Recent history: This will be the final regular-season meeting between the Raptors and Hawks. Toronto has won the first two games in the season series, as well as six straight against the Hawks. In the most recent meeting on Jan. 8, Toronto held on for a 104-101 victory at Scotiabank Arena behind a dunk from Serge Ibaka with 17 seconds remaining. Ibaka finished with 13 points while Kawhi Leonard finished with a game-high 31 points. The Hawks were led by John Collins’ 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Jeremy Lin scored 20 and Trae Young added 19 in the loss. The Hawks enter Thursday’s game on a two-game winning streak, with victories in Phoenix and Washington.

Extra Assists

- From deep: Danny Green will be joining teammates Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby in Charlotte for NBA All-Star festivities. The NBA announced on Tuesday that Green would be participating in the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday night. Green is shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc and has made 118 three-pointers so far this season. While Green will be in the three-point contest, Anunoby will participate in the MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars game on Friday night, and Lowry and Leonard will represent the Raptors in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

- Double-doubles: Serge Ibaka had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in Philadelphia, marking the seventh straight game he’s recorded a double-double. This is a career-best streak for Ibaka and he is just the fourth Raptors player to accomplish the feat, joining Damon Stoudamire, Donyell Marshall and Chris Bosh. Ibaka is averaging 15.6 points and 11.1 rebounds over the seven-game stretch, up from his 7.8 rebound per game average for the season.

- Getting it done: Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors in scoring in Tuesday’s victory, finishing with 24 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in 35 minutes. It wasn’t a typical shooting night for Leonard, though. Rather than scoring mostly from the floor, Leonard earned the bulk of his points at the free-throw line, where he was 16-for-17 for the game. He also reached 800 career steals in the game. Leonard is fifth in the league in steals, averaging 1.90 steals per game. Leonard’s season-high for steals this year came, coincidentally, against the Hawks, where he recorded six-steals in that Jan. 8 victory.

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