Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks
Tip-off: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
The Atlanta Hawks have impressed their YouWager fans already by locking a sixth consecutive NBA playoff appearance. However, this team still has some positioning at stake in their final home game.
The Toronto Raptors are currently a lottery-bound team and aren’t likely to roll over as they look for their sixth victory in seven games.
Tonight Atlanta will try to claim their third straight victory and move closer to securing the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference when they take on the surging Toronto team.
After three straight defeats, the Hawks (44-36) recovered with their second victory in a row on Friday.
Josh Smith and Jeff Teague each scored 24 on a combined 21-of-32 shooting to help Atlanta rally from a 19-point deficit for a 109-104 victory versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
Atlanta will face fourth-place Brooklyn Nets if they finish fifth, and Central Division champion Indiana Pacers should they fall to sixth. The Hawks have split their four games with each club.
Al Horford, who had 18 points and 17 rebounds on Friday, has played a major role in the Hawks’ two victories against Toronto.
This time around Atlanta will go for their ninth win in 10 home games versus Toronto.
While the Raptors (32-48) will miss the NBA playoffs for the fifth straight year, oddsmakers consider the Atlantic Division-worst club has been doing a good job down the stretch and beat the Nets 93-87 on Sunday for its third straight victory.
DeMar DeRozan finished with 36 points and Rudy Gay added 26 and 10 rebounds for Toronto, who also beat playoff-bound Chicago Bulls in their previous two basketball games.
The 23 year-old has scored 23 in each of his last two trips to Atlanta and averaged 22.8 on 53.8 percent shooting over his last six overall.
Center Jonas Valanciunas, who had 19 points in March’s defeat, will miss his third straight game due to a neck injury.
The Raptors have averaged 90.0 points in their two defeats versus Atlanta, who have averaged 100.0 points while shooting 48.7 percent in those games.
A victory would give the Hawks their second series sweep in three seasons.