The Atlanta Hawks have yet to reach double digits in wins this season, but two of their rare victories have come against the Toronto Raptors. The Hawks try to snap their longest skid of 2006-07 as they visit the Raptors on Friday after four days rest.
Atlanta (9-20) has dropped seven straight games—the NBA’s longest current losing streak—including a 95-81 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The Hawks trailed 67-61 entering the final period, but couldn’t overcome one of the league’s best squads.
“We were feeling pretty good about ourselves at the end of the third period down by only six points,” said Hawks coach Mike Woodson, whose team has dropped 11 of its last 12 games. “We need a lot of help offensively. This team is fighting a lack of chemistry.”
That offense has struggled in the last four games, averaging just 76.5 points and shooting 37.3 percent during that span while getting outscored by 20.0 points. Atlanta center Zaza Pachulia was held to a season-low four points on 1-of-7 shooting Sunday.
After averaging just 11.0 points in his previous three games, Hawks leading scorer Joe Johnson scored 23 against the Spurs, but committed a season-high nine turnovers. Johnson has done much better against the Raptors (13-19), averaging 30.5 points in two meetings this season, well over his 26.1 season mark.
The Hawks won both of those games, 111-102 on Nov. 10 and 97-93 on Nov. 24, and have taken three straight matchups between the squads.
Atlanta forward Josh Smith, who scored a career-high 29 points in that win on Nov. 10, is out for this matchup following hernia surgery. Second-leading scorer Tyronn Lue (strained groin) has missed seven straight games and Lorenzen Wright (calf) has been sidelined for two, but both are day-to-day.
The Raptors got leading scorer Chris Bosh back Wednesday after he was sidelined 12 games with a bruised knee, but they still fell 100-98 to the Phoenix Suns. Bosh totaled 26 points and 14 rebounds in 41 minutes.
“It felt good being back on the court and I picked up where I left off like I wanted to,” said Bosh, whose team has lost three straight. “We played well in quarters one, three and four but that second quarter was a set back for us.”
The Raptors were outscored 31-22 in that quarter and lost despite shooting season-high 52.6 percent (10 of 19) from beyond the arc during the game. They have played the last two games without second-leading scorer T.J. Ford, who is questionable with a sprained right ankle.
Toronto forward Jorge Garbajosa is also questionable after missing Wednesday’s contest because of a strained calf.
The Raptors are 8-5 at the Air Canada Centre, but Wednesday’s loss gave them back-to-back losses there for the first time this season.
The Hawks waived rookie Cedric Bozeman on Wednesday after he averaged 1.1 points in 23 games this season, including five starts.