Start time: 4:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Rasual Butler, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Atlanta: Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia
Toronto: James Johnson is questionable for today, Andrea Bargnani and Jerryd Bayless are out.
Atlanta: Kirk Hinrich is out indefinitely, Al Horford is expected to miss 3-4 months, and Tracy McGrady will be a game-time decision.
The Hawks are 2-0 since they lost Al Horford to a torn pectoral muscle, which speaks to their depth of talent. In contrast, the Raptors are 0-2 since they lost Andrea Bargnani. I don’t expect either of those mini-streaks — nor the four-game winning streak Atlanta has in this matchup — to end today.
With a 5-1 home record this season, the Hawks are one of the toughest squads to beat on their own court. Plus, as impressive as their 9-4 record is, you can make the case that they’re better than their record — Atlanta’s offense is seventh and their defense is fifth in the league in efficiency. They’re simply a strong all-around team. Of course, they’re probably doomed to get knocked out in the second round of the playoffs for the fourth straight season, but Raptors fans really aren’t in a position to throw stones.
- When a player has an $18 million salary, you would hope he would do better than 10th in his conference for his position for the All-Star Game voting. Sadly, Joe Johnson had tallied a meager 23,384 votes when the first results were announced on January 12th. Jose Calderon was sixth among Eastern guards with 42,929 votes.
- Here’s something fun I discovered over the weekend: It’s “Kill Bill Parts 1 & 2, in One Minute, in One Take”.