Game Preview: Raptors vs. Hawks

Holly MacKenzie -

Atlanta Hawks (9-25) @ Toronto Raptors (23-10) 

When: Friday, December 28th, 7:30 P.M. ET

Where: Air Canada Centre

Broadcast info: TSN2, SN590

Last meeting: 

The Raptors collected a dominant 112-78 road victory in their previous meeting against the Hawks in November. After leading by three at the end of the first quarter, the Raptors exploded for a 39-point second quarter while holding the Hawks to just 14 points, building a 67-39 lead at the half. Toronto rolled to an easy victory from there, led by 17 points from Norman Powelland 16 from Jonas Valanciunas. Kyle Lowry had 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan added eight assists in a quiet offensive night, where Toronto needed him to score just two points. The Hawks were led by Dennis Schroeder, who had 14 points in the loss.

Leading into tonight’s game: 

Injury report: For the Raptors, the injury report is clear. For the Hawks, Dewayne Dedmon, Josh Magette and Mike Muscala were all inactive in Atlanta’s previous game, with their injury report to be decided.

Returning home: The Raptors will close out the 2017 portion of the 2017-18 season with Friday’s game against the Hawks back on their home floor. After a disappointing two-game road trip where Toronto went 0-2 against the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Raptors are glad to return to their home floor where they are an NBA best 12-1 at home this season. Toronto has won 10 in a row on their home floor, with an  average margin of victory of +13.6 points.

Staying East: After playing a bulk of their games to start the season on the road, against the Western Conference, the Raptors will now kick off a seven-game stretch of facing Eastern Conference opponents. Toronto is 12-4 against the Eastern Conference this season, and is on a current seven-game winning streak against Eastern Conference opponents.

Extra assists:

Moving up the list: Jonas Valanciunas had a 16-point effort on 7-for-9 field goals in Toronto’s loss against the Thunder, but it was a blocked shot that moved him up the Raptors’ record books. Valanciunas’ 406th blocked shot allowed him to pass Antonio Davis (405), for fourth all-time on the franchise list for blocked shots.

Eager to bounce back: After dropping two games straight on the road, Dwane Casey is eager to see his team string together 48 full minutes of play at home. “I don’t know how many quality minutes we played together collectively,” he said of the team’s loss in Oklahoma City. “We’ve got to go back, regroup, get back in the gym and get back to the way we want to play.” 

CJ for three: C.J. Miles played in his second straight game after missing three games with a dental procedure and he looked great. Coming off the bench, Miles contributed 20 points, connecting on six three-pointers in 22 minutes of play. On the season, Miles is averaging 10.0 points in 18.3 minutes per game while shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc.