Raptors could wrap up season sweep of Hawks
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TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors will be trying to complete a four-game sweep of a season series against an opponent for the second game in a row Tuesday night.
The Raptors claimed a four-game sweep against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday with a 103-98 victory at the Air Canada Centre.
This time, they will be trying to win all four games this season against the Atlanta Hawks, who defeated the Phoenix Suns 113-112 on Sunday with a 3-point shot by Taurean Prince in the final seconds.
"Just happy a lot of those guys stepped up in situations they're not in a lot," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "A lot of good stuff for the whole game. We got better."
Raptors coach Dwane Casey said an opponent like the Hawks always concerns him. Even though the team is out of playoff contention, Casey believes the players will continue to perform with conviction because they have something to prove, and in some cases are trying to preserve their careers.
"I'm always scared about teams that are scrappy," Casey said after practice on Monday. "This team played the Golden State Warriors very well the other night. It was nip and tuck down the stretch to the very end. If they can play the Golden State Warriors well, they sure can play the Toronto Raptors well."
The Hawks lost 114-109 to the Warriors on Friday.
"It shows how hard we're working," Prince said after the game. "It shows what we can be."
The Raptors (45-17) have the best home record in the NBA. Toronto is trying to win 60 games in a season for the first time in franchise history.
Raptors All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan said reaching 60 wins is important.
"It's never been done here," he said. "Not many people get an opportunity to win 60-plus games. ... That's big. But on top of that, you have to prove why you're a 60-win team. As long as we continue to do what we need to do, hopefully we'll get there."
The Raptors lead the Eastern Conference and finishing first would give them home-court advantage in the playoffs through the conference finals.
Raptors starting small forward OG Anunoby is expected to miss his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Norman Powell started in his place on Friday, but Malcolm Miller got the call Sunday. Powell struggled in his start in the win over the Washington Wizards, going 0 of 2 with no points and one rebound. Casey said not to read too much into his decision.
"We're going to look at different people in that situation (while) OG is out, just to use this as a teaching tool," Casey said. "It doesn't mean anybody's ahead of anybody else, so don't make a, what is it, quarterback issue? There's no drama whatsoever. We're going to look at different people in different parts of the game in different positions."
The Raptors and the Hawks last met Jan. 24 with Toronto prevailing 108-93.
Guard Kent Bazemore, the Hawks' second-leading scorer, had a rest day Sunday for the second time in the past six games. He scored a career-best 29 points in the loss Friday to Golden State.
Atlanta guard Malcolm Delaney scored 12 points Sunday before suffering a sprained left ankle in the second half. He did not return and has been ruled out of the game Tuesday.
The Hawks as a team shot 17 of 33 from 3-point range and 45.7 percent from the field against the Suns.
"I thought we got good looks," Budenholzer said. "I thought we moved the ball when we could get good looks. We actually passed up a lot. I thought we, for sure, could have had more attempts, you don't know whether they'll go in or not, but I'd like to see us shoot more when we're open."
The Hawks recalled guard Josh Magette and forward Andrew White III from the Erie BayHawks on Monday.
Magette has played in nine games with the Hawks this season, averaging 2.3 points and two assists.
In two games with Atlanta, White is averaging 7.5 points.
Updated March 5, 2018