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Raptors vs. Hawks: Time for another bullying?

Last time the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks squared off, Toronto posted the largest margin of victory in team history. Will things get ugly again tonight at the Air Canada Centre?

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Kyle Lowry (7) has been on fire from three-point range of late.
Kyle Lowry (7) has been on fire from three-point range of late.
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 3 was a historic evening for the Toronto Raptors.

That night, the Raptors won by the most points (44) in the franchise's history. Their opponent? The Atlanta Hawks.

Those same Hawks visit the Air Canada Centre again on Friday and will be looking to avoid another bullying at the hands of the northerners. One thing that will be working in the Hawks' favour is the return of star power forward Paul Millsap. The 31-year-old did not suit up for the demolition earlier this month and should help make this a tighter battle. If it doesn't, the garbage time heroes could make an appearance on a snowy night.

Speaking of power forwards, Raptors coach Dwane Casey sparked debate among the fan base by rolling out Patrick Patterson with the rest of the starting lineup to open the third quarter Wednesday in Philadelphia. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the Raptors enjoyed an outstanding period in an overall lacklustre game. It'll be back to rookie Pascal Siakam tonight, but who knows what the future may hold until Jared Sullinger returns.

In other young big man news, Lucas Nogueira, who missed Wednesday's contest with a sore knee, will give it a go tonight.

Before we get to the comments, here are some Raptors stories from around the web that you may have missed during the workday:

Stephen Campbell has our thorough game preview.

Michael Grange wrote about how the Raptors still can't get any love south of the border.

Eric Koreen says not to blame Toronto's great offence for an average defence.

Doug Smith writes about the importance of finding some extra rest for Patterson, who is playing a boat load of minutes.

Now you should be all set for tip-off. Enjoy and stay warm, preferably with your favourite beverage in hand.