The 2023-24 NBA season continues to heat up, and there are some interesting games on the schedule on Friday evening. The Atlanta Hawks are set to visit the Toronto Raptors and both teams are trying to turn things around in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta comes into this game searching for answers as they have currently dropped five games in a row ahead of this matchup. The Hawks are now sitting at just 9-14 on the year, and at some point they are going to have to figure some things out.
Toronto comes into this game with a record of 10-14, and they just ended a long losing streak on Wednesday night. That win actually came against the Atlanta Hawks, and Toronto will try to make it two straight wins on their home floor.
The betting lines have the Toronto Raptors as 2.5-point betting favorites over the Atlanta Hawks in this game.
Hawks Have to Defend
If the Atlanta Hawks are going to find a way to turn their season around then it’s going to have to start on the defensive end of the floor. Atlanta just allowed 135 points to Toronto in their most recent game, and they have given up at least 114 points in every game during this skid.
This Hawks team wants to play fast with the basketball, and they aren’t afraid to take some shots early in the shot clock. That is fine when this team is shooting the ball well, but they still can’t forget to defend.
Trae Young is averaging 27.2 points per game this season, and he has the ability to take over a game. Toronto will be keying on Young though, and some other players are going to have to step up.
Raptors Must Make Shots
The Toronto Raptors are scoring just 112.8 points per game this season, and it was a pretty big shock to see them pour in 135 points. Toronto is making just 11.5 three pointers per game, and that is much lower than some of the other teams in the league.
Pascal Siakam is leading the way with 21.2 points per game, but he hasn’t been as great this season as in previous years. Toronto has also gotten 20.1 points per game from Scottie Barnes, and his interior scoring is a big key.
The Raptors are a team that wants to play some defense, and that should allow them to get some separation in this game. Toronto can’t afford to try to win another shootout as they might not make enough shots to win.
Toronto Takes Care of Business
This Atlanta Hawks team has enough talent to be one of the best in the Eastern Conference, but they just don’t always play like it. Atlanta has completely forgotten about defense during this losing streak, and that’s just not an easy fix.
The Raptors have had their own struggles this season, but they should have some confidence ahead of this matchup. Toronto is getting to play a second straight game on their home floor, and they will have another big game.
Bet the Toronto Raptors -2.5 as they beat the Atlanta Hawks for a second straight time.