Gameday: Raptors @ Hawks, Jan 31

The Raptors and Hawks haven't seen each other yet this season, but they will get pretty familiar this week with games today in Atlanta and on Friday in Toronto. 

The Raptors (24-23, 8th in East) and Hawks (24-25, 10th in East) haven’t seen each other yet this season, but they will get pretty familiar this week with games today in Atlanta and on Friday in Toronto.

The Hawks have been one of the biggest disappointments in the league so far, floundering under .500 after being only two wins away from the NBA Finals last year. However, the Raps are catching them at their best. Atlanta is on a seven game win streak for the second time this season, including wins over Milwaukee and Miami. Six of those seven wins have come at home, as this is game four of a five game homestand for the Hawks. This is coming off losing five in a row. What a Jekyll and Hyde team.

Trae Young is also back in the all-star game as a starter after missing out last year which turned out to be foolish on the voters part. Some of that was because of league wide complaints about his game. Steve Nash openly criticized Young’s tendency to jump back into defenders for fouls off screens, saying “that’s not basketball.” However, his reputation was completely renewed during the Hawks surprising playoff run. Trae did his best Reggie Miller villain impersonation against the Knicks, and then upset the top seeded 76ers. Also, Young’s shooting splits are all a career-best this season despite rule changes. So clearly he’s a straight hooper regardless.

Toronto is coming off its first triple overtime win since 1998. Every starter played over 50 minutes, which is an NBA first. They are now cruelly rewarded with a back to back, including a rematch against the Heat tomorrow. However Atlanta is also in the second game of a back to back themselves.

Player to Watch For

See, this is the problem. Atlanta is a deep team that can burn you from many directions. Finally getting healthy is a big reason for their recent success. I’m going to say keep an eye on second year big man Onyeka Okongwu. The 2020 sixth overall pick dominated the Lakers yesterday, as Nate McMillan decided to run with him instead of Clint Capela in the fourth quarter.

One Wish

Need a bench contribution tonight, maybe Chris Boucher? With Miami’s tendency to run zone against non shooting lineups, the bench was unplayable against the Heat. They need to alleviate some minutes. Desperately.

**EDIT: Let me add a very important second wish. We will know if Fred VanVleet is an all-star reserve by Thursday. Having an A-plus game against Trae might sway a Eastern Conference coaches vote with McMillan watching. Might pay huge dividends, who knows.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: Sportsnet | Radio: TSN 1050

Toronto Raptors Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

@ HeatW124-120
@ BullsL111-105
vs HornetsW125-113
vs Trail BlazersL114-105
@ WizardsW109-105

Probable Lineup

PF: P. Siakam, C. Boucher, P. Achiuwa
SF: O. Anunoby, Y. Watanabe, J. Champagnie
C: S. Barnes
PG: G. Trent Jr., D. Banton, M. Flynn
SG: F. VanVleet, S. Mykhailiuk

Injuries

David Johnson, PGOut moreJohnson (COVID-19 protocols) won’t be available for Tuesday’s game against the Hornets
Khem Birch, COut moreBirch is expected to be out for 10-14 days after recently undergoing nose surgery, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports.
Goran Dragic, PGOut moreDragic (personal) remains out for Monday’s game in Miami, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports.

atl Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

vs Lakers W 129-121
vs Celtics W 108-92
vs Kings W 121-104
@ Hornets W 113-91
vs Heat W 110-108

Probable Lineup

PF: J. Collins, D. Gallinari, O. Okongwu, K. Knox II
SF: D. Hunter, J. Johnson
C: C. Capela, G. Dieng
PG: T. Young
SG: K. Huerter, L. Williams, B. Bogdanovic, D. Wright, T. Luwawu-Cabarrot, S. Mays

Betting Lines

The lines are below and there’s tasty stuff from Bet365 and William Hill including others on Betminded.com.

My over/under prediction (10-6 this season): Atlanta is amongst the bottom five in defensive rating. The Hawks are also top 10 in points per game. The over is speaking to me.

toratl
+2Spread-2.0
+110Money Line-130
Over/Under
219.0

 

Leave a Comment