It was the shadiest shade imaginable. Watching the first game of the season, seeing Dwight Howard get announced last in the Hawks starting lineup, it all felt a little put on. Sure, Atlanta was taking a wrench to their roster -- replacing Al Horford with Howard, giving Dennis Schroder the reins at point guard -- but to eschew Paul Millsap like that... shade.
Of course, none of that matters in the grand scheme of basketball, so let's get to tonight. Millsap will miss the game against the Raptors with a hip injury, so it'll be up to everyone else to try to revive the struggling Hawks. Once the heir to the second seed throne, Atlanta has lost eight of nine games (woof) and looks lost in the middle of the East.
The Raptors, meanwhile, are scoring like crazy! Everything is great! Just a half game back from Cleveland, the home team would do well not to look forward to the East leaders on Monday. That seems to be the biggest hurdle to overcome tonight, but there are positives to help them along the way. DeMarre Carroll returns to the lineup tonight after a night off, which should help against a stout Hawks defense. Atlanta is on the second night of a back-to-back too, after losing to Detroit by... [checks paper] oh my, 40 points.
For more preview-y stuff, check out Harsh Dave from this morning. Then let's get into the comments.