Atlanta has dropped six of 10 including a 100-85 loss in Chicago on Tuesday. They have slipped to fifth place in the Eastern Conference and are struggling as much as they have at any point this season.
It's tough to pinpoint any one thing as the reasoning for their struggles but the offense is a good place to start. Atlanta has been held to 85 points or less in three of its last four games. The lone exception was a 105-100 loss in New Orleans. Defensively, Atlanta hasn't been much better as they allowed the Bulls to shoot 51 percent while being outworked 57-28 on the glass.
Mike Budenholzer has chosen to tinker with his rotation somewhat in the last two losses by going with Lou Williams as the backup point guard over Shelvin Mack. The results haven't been favorable. Williams did finish with 13 points and four assists against Chicago but most of that outburst came in the second half when he was at the shooting guard position. It will be interesting to see what direction Budenholzer goes in against the Raptors.
Atlanta won the previous meeting with Toronto 102-95 way back on Nov. 1. That was before the Raptors shipped Rudy Gay to Sacramento and subsequently began their climb in the East standings, and it was before Al Horford was lost for the season with a torn pectoral. Horford led the Hawks with 22 points and 16 rebounds in the first meeting.
Toronto currently sits at 27-24 and in third place in the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan is having an All-Star season and Kyle Lowry is putting up All-Star numbers. The Raptors defeated New Orleans on Monday behind 22 points from DeRozan and Patrick Patterson. Lowry finished with a double-double with 19 points and 12 assists.
Atlanta would like to snap their losing streak before heading into the All-Star break over the weekend. The Hawks have done a good job of keeping their heads above water in the East following Horford's injury but are now threatening to slide down the standings. It's an uneasy situation for a number of players with the trade deadline looming.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, February 12, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM
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