Sunday's loss to Phoenix snapped a four game winning streak for the Raptors. At 11-7, they lead the Atlantic Division once again in the early going, but will get a nice test tonight on the road against the Atlanta Hawks.
Here are three things to watch for:
DeMarre Carroll's Return
Carroll was a key cog on the Hawks last year when they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, even leading the team in scoring through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Carroll chose to sign with the Raptors this offseason but did write a "Thank You, Atlanta" piece at the Players' Tribune afterwards. Carroll is shooting just 40.0 percent from the field this season, but has come as advertised on the defensive end, while his scoring and three-point shooting percentage has been on par with last season. His former teammates though, don't care much about any warm feelings for the forward's return to Atlanta:
Me: DeMarre Carroll comes back tomorrow. I wonder what your thoughts are about facing former teammate? Jeff Teague:"I don't really care."— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) December 1, 2015
"Nothing surprises me about Jeff," Carroll told reporters when asked he if was surprised the comment. "Jeff is one of those guys who comes in, does his work and goes home. Not surprised by Jeff. But like he said, it’s another game. That’s how I’m going to look at them, like another game. It’s a great opportunity for me and my team to go in there and get a road win and make a statement."
Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said earlier this season that replacing Carroll on the defensive end will be a group effort. So far this season, swingman Kent Bazemore is averaging 11.7 points per game and shooting over 40 percent from three. Thabo Sefolosha, who is still working himself back from injury, has been coming on.
You have to imagine the wing players on Atlanta will want to show Carroll that they haven't missed a beat.
Horford and Millsap
The front court of Luis Scola and Bismack Biyombo will face quite a challenge in trying to contain both of Atlanta's versatile big men. Al Horford and Paul Millsap are both threats on the perimeter and in the pick-and-roll. With a thin frontline, the Raptors starting big men will have to keep themselves out of foul trouble, a task that is much easier said than done.
Where to watch: 8 pm, TSN
What does everyone think?