The Hawks (4-2) and Raptors (3-3) meet for the first time after Toronto won three of the four matchups last season.
Hawks scope (8th offensive rating, 17th defensive rating): Atlanta’s big offseason move was acquiring all-star Dejounte Murray from San Antonio which was supposed to kickstart a Spurs rebuild but surprisingly they are 5-2. Murray’s game has transferred well, averaging 20 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists. The Hawks first five games were all against teams that missed the playoffs last year (Rockets, Magic, Hornets, Pistons twice). They are coming off their first playoff opponent test on Saturday, resulting in a loss at Milwaukee.
Raptors scope (24th offensive rating, 15th defensive rating): Fred VanVleet will be matched up against fellow all-star Trae Young. Fred is coming off one of his worst games in his career, finishing with 1 point on 0-11 shooting vs Philly on Friday. VanVleet admitted afterwards that he didn’t have much pop and will bounce back. The defensive energy especially will be needed against Trae, who averaged nearly 30 points and 13 assists in three games against the Raptors last season. Young is coming off a 42 point game against the Bucks. Trae’s mastery of the pick and roll especially hurt Toronto last year, getting whatever he wanted on drives, floaters and lobs. Including Murray, Atlanta has two players ranked top 10 in assists per game.
In other news, Thaddeus Young mentioned after Friday’s loss that he is surprised about his lack of playing time but is staying ready. Young ranks 10th on the team in minutes per game (8.0) with two DNP’s already. As usual, Nick Nurse has opted to go with a starters heavy rotation, adding Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa for main minutes off the bench. Christian Koloko has been used more than most expected and Dalano Banton has played in every game as well.
Tip-Off: 7:30pm EDT | TV: Sportsnet One | Radio: TSN Radio 1050
Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) is out, he hasn’t played this since having surgery on his right knee following the 2021-22 season.
PG: Trae Young, Aaron Holiday
SG: Dejounte Murray, Justin Holiday Jarrett Culver, Vit Krejci
SF: De’Andre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, Tyrese Martin
PF: John Collins, AJ Griffin
C: Clint Capela, Onyeka Okongwu, Frank Kaminsky
Otto Porter Jr. is away from the team for personal reasons.
Update: Fred VanVleet is now OUT with lower back stiffness. The Raptors will go big in his place, starting Christian Koloko.
PG: Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby, Thaddeus Young
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Juancho Hernangomez
C: Christian Koloko, Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch
The Raptors are favoured by four points. Over/Under is at 224.5.