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
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
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)
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.
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)
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