Toronto Raptors @ Atlanta Hawks Free Pick February 20th

I was incorrect on my last Raptors free pick as the Raptors (-5) did notch a victory but only by 2, 95-93 versus the Wizards last Wednesday (before the All-Star break). I am now 18-22 in Raptors free picks. Tonight the 36-17 Toronto Raptors travel to Atlanta to face the East-leading 43-11 Hawks.

(36-17) Toronto Raptors @ (43-11) Atlanta Hawks

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Probable starting line-ups:

Toronto – PG – Kyle Lowry  SG – DeMar DeRozan  C – Jonas Valanciunas  SF – James Johnson  PF – Amir Johnson

Atlanta – Point Guard – Jeff Teague  Shooting Guard – Kyle Korver  Center – Al Horford  Small Forward – DeMarre Carroll  Power Forward – Paul Millsap

Stats Leaders:

Toronto – PPG – Kyle Lowry 18.6  RPG – Jonas Valanciunas 8.6  APG – Kyle Lowry 7.2

Atlanta – Points Per Game – Jeff Teague 17.0  Rebounds Per Game – Paul Millsap 7.9  Assists Per Game – Jeff Teague 7.5

Team Scoring: (with league ranking in parentheses)

Toronto – PF – 105.6 (5th)  PA – 100.7 (21st)

Atlanta – Points For (Per Game) – 103.4 (6th)  Points Against (Per Game) – 96.8 (3rd)

Overview:

The Toronto Raptors have won 3 straight games. They took a 36-17 record in to the All-Star break which earned them the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference. In their last game before the break they secured a 95-93 home win versus the Wizards. Reserve shooting guard Louis Williams led the way with 27 points on 8 of 16 shooting in 34 minutes. He was 4 of 8 from the 3 point line and 7 of 7 from the free throw line. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points on 6 of 18 shooting in 35 minutes. He was a perfect 10 for 10 at the foul line. Point guard Kyle Lowry contributed with 13 points and 6 assists. He also had 4 rebounds. He was 5 of 12 from the field in 32 minutes. Backup point guard Greivis Vasquez chipped in with 11 points in 19 minutes off the bench. He also had 4 rebounds. The team shot 40.8% from the field, 42.3% from the 3 point line (11-26), and 84.6% from the free throw line (22-26). They were out-rebounded 50-37. The team trailed by 1 going in the final period but out-scored their opposition 20-17 in the 4th quarter. Toronto is 15-8 on the road this season. Tonight is the 1st game of a back to back. They are 10-1 in the 1st game of a back to back so far this season. Tonight is also the start of a 4 game road trip. Tomorrow night they play at Houston.

The Atlanta Hawks have dropped of their last 3 games. They took a 43-11 record in to the All-Star break which earned them the best record in the Eastern Conference. In their last game before the break they suffered an 89-88 defeat at Boston. Center Al Horford led the team with a double-double as he scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. He was 11 of 15 from the field in 36 minutes. Small forward DeMarre Carroll scored 14 points on 4 of 15 shooting in 34 minutes. He also had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Power forward Paul Millsap contributed with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was 3 of 11 from the field in 34 minutes. He was 5 of 8 from the foul line. Point guard Jeff Teague chipped in with 10 points and 8 assists. He was 4 of 12 from the field in 33 minutes. The team shot 42.3% from the field, 24.1% from the 3 point line (7-29), and 65.2% from the free throw line (15-23). They were out-rebounded 56-44. The team was out-scored 28-16 in the 4th quarter. Atlanta is 25-3 at home this season. They have won their last 12 home games. Including tonight they play 5 of their next 7 games at home. Their next game is Sunday at Milwaukee.

Toronto is 2-1 in 3 meetings with Atlanta this season. On October 29th Raptors notched a 109-102 home win, on November 26th the Hawks cruised to a 126-115 home win, and on January 16th the Raptors were victorious at home 110-89. Tonight is the final meeting of the season between the 2 teams.

Prediction:

Tonight will be a battle between the teams with the 2 best records in the Eastern Conference. I like the individual match-up of Lowry vs Teague. However, when it comes to the team match-up I have to go with the Hawks in this one for one main reason: they’re at home. In their last 12 home games they’ve won by a margin of 6 or more points. Take the Hawks -5.5 (1.90) (Bet365)

February 20, 2015 by : Posted in Basketball No Comments
Jeff

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Our resident NBA expert, Jeff has been handicapping NBA games for several years. He is an avid follower of the Toronto Raptors and the majority of games he handicaps will involve our lone Canadian NBA team.

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