The Toronto Raptors are no longer playing like the team that started the season 1-15.
The Raptors try for their first three-game winning streak of the season when they take on the Atlanta Hawks for the second time in three games.
Toronto defeated Indiana 99-97 on Friday for its fourth win in six contests, as point guard Mike James had his second consecutive strong game with 19 points and 10 assists to lead the Raptors.
“That’s huge for us,” James said. “We’ve got to build from games like this and understand that what our record is, that’s not who we are. We can continue to grow and gain confidence from games like this.”
James, who had 28 points and nine assists in a 108-102 win over Atlanta on Wednesday, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter against the Pacers. The first-year Raptor also had the go-ahead basket to help Toronto overcome a 16-point second-half deficit.
“A lot of times when you’re down and you have an overall record like we have, it’s easy to look up at the score and say ‘here we go again,”’ said Raptors guard Jalen Rose, who had 10 points. “We pulled together, we persevered, and obviously were not going to take is as more than one game, but it does feel good to get a win on the road.”
While Toronto continues to improve, Atlanta has lost three straight since their best stretch of the season, a 5-2 run from Dec. 10-23.
The Hawks fell 99-91 to New Jersey on Friday in a game with 25 lead changes.
“I don’t have any complaints with our crew,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “They are playing hard and we have been in every game we’ve played this year.”
The Hawks are 17-for-30 on 3-pointers in the last two games and rank first in the NBA at 41 percent from beyond the arc.
“We are right there, right before we can consistently win night in and night out,” Harrington said. “If we continue to play with the same effort, we’ll be fine.”
Toronto has won four straight against Atlanta and 16 of the last 19 matchups.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 2): Raptors - 5th place, 9 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Hawks - 5th place, 10 GB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Raptors - Bosh, 22.2 ppg and 9.5 rpg; Jose Calderon, 6.2 apg. Hawks - Johnson, 19.3 ppg and 5.4 apg; Pachulia, 9 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Raptors, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Wednesday; Raptors, 108-102. At Toronto, Peterson had 26 points, and Bosh contributed 15 points and six rebounds for the Raptors.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Raptors - 6-10 on the road; Hawks - 5-7 at home.