Team Records: Toronto 12-2, Atlanta 7-5
Where to Watch: Sportsnet 360, 7:30 p.m. EST
By the Eastern Conference's pitiful standards, the Hawks have lived up to their city's Hotlanta moniker, winning six of their last eight. Jeff Teague in particular has been on a tear, averaging 26.3 points in the last three games. Atlanta is also perfect at home against the East, 4-0.
Bad news for the Hawks, though - they allow 102.5 points per game, 25th in the league. Fourteen games into the season we know the Raptors can light it up. After dropping 109 in the season opener, they'll have every chance for a repeat performance against Atlanta.
Toronto will also benefit from extra rest, as Atlanta is playing the tail end of a back-to-back after winning in Washington 106-102 last night. Mike Scott scored a season-high 17 in that win, so it may be on the Raps bench to slow down ol' emoji tattoo guy. They'll have to do that without Tyler Hansbrough, who is doubtful with his right shoulder sprain.
The real matchups to watch, though, will be the starting bigs. Amir Johnson's mobility will be tested against Paul Millsap, a power forward with serious range. It'll also be interesting to see if Jonas Valanciunas can build on his career-high 27 points vs. Phoenix in a matchup with the accomplished Al Horford.
Trap games have eluded this team thus far. But it's hard not to look ahead to a Friday nighter at the ACC against Dallas, the second of seven 20th Anniversary Nights. It'll be up to the Raps to ignore the purple future and focus on the red present. As a shameless hack, I'll gladly point out that if the playoffs started today, Atlanta could be our second round matchup.
Oh, and in a season of "best start" records falling daily, the Raptors can notch one more tonight - a win would give them a 4-1 start on the road, best in franchise history. Enjoy, folks.