Raptors-Hawks Preview

The Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks have been getting solid production from a number of players since All-Star center Al Horford was hurt.

The slumping Toronto Raptors need someone to step up if injured center Andrea Bargnani remains out.

Atlanta goes for its fifth straight victory in this series Monday when the Raptors try to end a season-high four-game losing streak.

With Horford sidelined at least three months after suffering a torn left pectoral muscle in Wednesday's 96-84 loss at Indiana, the Hawks (9-4) have a major hole to fill. So far, Atlanta hasn't missed a beat, routing Charlotte 111-81 on Thursday before rallying from 18 points down in the third quarter Saturday for a 93-91 win over Minnesota.

Ivan Johnson, Willie Green and Vladimir Radmanovic combined for 14 points off the bench during a 24-2 Hawks run that bridged the third and fourth quarters.

"I just thought it was a really gutsy performance by our guys, particularly the guys that came off the bench, Ivan Johnson, Willie Green - I thought he did a phenomenal job in spearheading that comeback," coach Larry Drew said. "... That's where it all begins with us. If we're not playing with energy, we can't expect positive results. But it's just a gutsy performance."

Johnson, who hit the clinching free throws with 4.6 seconds left, finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Green scored all 10 of his points in the final 12 minutes.

The two have combined for 43 of the team's 51 bench points in the last two games.

Joe Johnson, who finished with a season-high 37 points in Toronto's last visit - a 100-87 Hawks victory on Feb. 2 - leads Atlanta with 48 points in two games without Horford.

Josh Smith is averaging 19.0 and 10.5 rebounds in those contests, while point guard Jeff Teague is adding 18.0 points and 8.5 assists per game.

The Hawks will go for a fourth straight home win overall and seventh in a row over the Raptors there.

Toronto (4-9) is in the middle of a three-game trip following Saturday's 77-64 loss against Chicago.

The Raptors starting frontcourt of Amir Johnson (13 rebounds), Rasual Butler and Ed Davis combined for eight points and missed 13 of 17 shots.

"With Andrea out, we didn't have a low-post presence," coach Dwane Casey said.

It's uncertain if Bargnani, the team leader with 22.3 points per game, will play Monday after missing two games with a strained left calf.

"Andrea Bargnani adds so much when he's on the court. It's tough not having him, but we have to fight it out," DeMar DeRozan told the Raptors' official Twitter account.

The Raptors would likely be in a better position if forward James Johnson were available off the bench, but he's also questionable after leaving Saturday's game with a sprained right ankle. He finished with 12 points.

No matter who's ready to go, Toronto needs to keep taking care of the ball. The team committed a season-low nine turnovers Saturday after averaging 19.3 in its previous three games.

"Thats' something that we have to continue to do to give ourselves a chance," Casey said.

DeRozan is scoring 17.0 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting from the field in the last three, but he averaged just 12.7 as Toronto went 0-3 versus Atlanta in 2010-11.

Jose Calderon averaged 8.3 points and 8.0 assists in those losses - the first time the Raptors were swept in the season series since 1997-98.