Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks Preview and Pick

Toronto Raptors +3 (3-1) at Atlanta Hawks -3 (3-0) O/U 182.5 7:30 PM ET, November 7, 2008
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Raptors travel down south to play the undefeated Hawks. Something’s gotta give in this game, as the Hawks are undefeated at home (1-0) and the Raptors are undefeated on the road (2-0).

Basketball bookies are listing the Hawks as 3 point favorites with a total around 182.5 points. The Hawks are posted at -165 as home favorites while the Raptors are posted at +145 as away dogs.

The Raptors come into this game after dropping their first game of the season last night losing to the Detroit Pistons 100-93. The high scorer for the Raptors in that game was Chris Bosh going for 26 points on 11/24 shooting and also grabbed 13 boards. Raptors’ PG Jose Calderon is showing he is now one of the better PG’s in the East, as last night he had 24 points and 8 assists. For the game the Raptors shot well going 34/75 from the field for a FG% of 45.3. On defense the Raptors allowed the Pistons to shoot just a tad better going 39/85 for a FG% of 45.9. One of the main reasons the Raptors lost is that they had 11 turnovers and the Pistons only had 5.

The Hawks come into this game after handing the New Orleans Hornets their first loss of the season beating them 87-79. In that game the high scorer for the Hawks was Joe Johnson going for 24 points on 10/21 shooting. In the game 4 of 5 starters for the Hawks scored in double figures. The Hawks were draining the long ball last night going 12/20 from downtown for a 3-point FG% of 40%. For the game the Hawks shot 34/79 for a FG% of 43%. On defense the Hawks allowed the Hornets to shoot 30/71 for a FG% of 42.3%. The Hawks dominated the glass in the game out rebounding the Hornets 45 to 35.

Toronto ranks 12th in scoring this season (97.8 ppg) while the Hawks rank 23rd (93.7 ppg). The Raptors are flat out shooting lights out, as their FG% is 47.14% and their 3 point FG% is an impressive 51%. The Hawks have been a decent shooting team so far this year, FG% of 43.36%, but even though they are still undefeated they have been throwing up bricks from the charity stripe with a FT% of only 61.82%.

The reason the Hawks is undefeated this season? One word: DEFENSE, as the Hawks rank 1st in defense allowing a league low 84 ppg. The Raptors rank 11th in points allowed at 94.8 ppg. Atlanta is really clamping down on D, as their opponents are shooting less than 40% from the field and less than 30% from 3 point land. The Raptors are getting killed on the glass, as they have the worst rebounding differential in the league at -10.5 while the Hawks are at a respectable +3.7.

This season the Hawks are 3-0 ATS and the Raptors are 2-2. In terms of Over/Under the Hawks are 0-3 and the Raptors are 2-2.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

This game features the stellar backcourt of the Hawks against the stellar frontcourt of the Raptors. Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson are lighting it up for the Hawks and Chris Bosh and, new mate, Jermaine O’Neal are playing great for the Raptors.

The Hawks’ Al Horford will have his hands full tonight matching up with Chris Bosh. Bosh has been a monster this season averaging 26 ppg and 10.8 rpg.

For the Raptors to win this game they will have to hit the outside shot, as if they do not the Hawks will sag back in the paint and make it harder for Bosh and O’Neal to score.

The PG match up in this game is key with Mike Bibby and Jose Calderon. Calderon has started the season on fire averaging 19.5 ppg and making people in Toronto forget about losing T.J. Ford. Bibby has played well and he will have to provide some offense and perimeter defense for the Hawks.

The Hawks are undersized, but they play great team defense. They will have a tall order tonight trying to contain Raptors’ bigs Jermaine O’Neal and especially Bosh.