In our preview, we’ve described some of the pivotal keys to winning tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors. As we prepare for a huge Eastern Conference show down at Philips Arena tonight, we will discuss the key Hawks players that we’ll need a big night from in order for Atlanta to remain intact as the 3rd seed with only four Regular Season Games remaining in the 2015-16 NBA season.
Players To Watch:
|Ron Turenne – NBAE – Getty Images|
One of the biggest reasons the Hawks have struggled against Toronto is due to the play of All-Star power forward Paul Millsap. Although he’s probably the most reliable option for the Hawks, he’s struggled in every match-up against the Raptors thus far. In the previous 105-97 loss in Toronto a week ago, Paul Millsap scored 7 points, went 3/8 from the field, and posted nine rebounds, three blocks, three steals and one assist.
|Dec 2, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) is defended by Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) and guard Thabo Sefolosha (25) during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports|
In the previous two losses against Toronto, he’s averaged 9.5 points per game, seven rebounds, two assists, 1.5 blocks and three turnovers per game as well. Millsap’s subpar outings against Toronto affects the flow of the Hawks on offense in general. We’ll need a big contest from our All-Star if the Hawks plan on winning a pivotal contest.
|Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks goes for the layup against the Toronto Raptors during the game on March 30, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. March 30, 2016|
Despite posting a solid outing in last week’s 105-97 defeat in which Teague posted 18 points, went 8/13 from the field with three assists and two rebounds, he’s played a huge part in the Hawks struggles against this team as well. In his previous two match-ups, Teague combined for a dismal 9/31 from the field, (4.5) rebounds per game, (8.5) assists per game, and one steal which affects the flow of the offense as well. In each loss this season against Toronto, the Hawks are a -7, -6, and -7 when he’s on the floor… Not good for your starting point guard.
|Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on December 2, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit: Scott Cunningham|
Another problem is Teague’s lack of consistency when defending All Star opposing point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry has averaged (22.3) points per game, (7.6) assists per game, four rebounds per game, and two steals per game. Lowry’s having his way against Atlanta this season and if the Hawks are going to win, Teague will be relied upon to slow down one of the best guards in the NBA.