Hawks look to continue winning ways against Raptors

NBA Basketball

The soaring Atlanta Hawks will try to defeat the host Toronto Raptors for a third consecutive time Tuesday night in Tampa, Fla.

The Hawks defeated the Raptors 132-121 in Atlanta on Feb. 6, then needed Tony Snell’s 3-pointer at the buzzer to win 121-120 after overcoming a 15-point deficit in the final six minutes at Tampa on March 11.

The Hawks have won six of their past seven games, including a 105-101 victory over the host Charlotte Hornets on Sunday after overcoming a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

The Raptors lost Sunday night 102-96 to the host New York Knicks and are 3-3 in April after going 1-13 in March. The Raptors play their next five games in Tampa as they are home for 11 of their final 18 games of the regular season.

The Raptors had Kyle Lowry back in the lineup Sunday after he had missed seven of the eight previous games with a toe infection. OG Anunoby was rested Sunday and Fred VanVleet (hip) remained out.

Lowry finished with 19 points, six assists and seven rebounds while Gary Trent Jr., coming off a 44-point game in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, had 23 points.

“I think (Trent) is going to be a really good player,” Lowry said. “He’s a better shooter than I thought he was. He can really shoot the ball, and he makes tough shots.”

Rookie Malachi Flynn had another strong game and played the entire fourth quarter in a close game for the first time in his career. He had six points, five rebounds and four assists.

“I thought he looked good out there,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “It’s valuable for him to get out there and play in a high-level game down the stretch, a physical game.”

The Hawks had a big injury list for their game in Charlotte: Trae Young (left calf contusion), John Collins (left ankle sprain), Danilo Gallinari (right foot soreness), Snell (right ankle sprain), Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery), De’Andre Hunter (right knee soreness) and Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness).

Young, Collins and Hunter are starters when available.

As a result, the Hawks counted on Bogdan Bogdanovic for scoring and he had a season-best 32 points. He made a career-best eight 3-pointers.

Over the past eight games, he is shooting 51.5 percent from 3-point territory.

“We had to lean on him probably a little more (Sunday)because we were without a couple guys, Trae and Gallo and Tony,” Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he was aggressive. … We tried to get him the ball and I thought he did a really good job of keeping us close down the stretch.”

“We were like, ‘OK, let’s grind it out again.'”Bogdanovic said. “Let’s go possession by possession. They scored some tough shots. Let’s play basketball and let’s have fun in the fourth quarter, nothing else.”

McMillan said he wants Bogdanovic to continue to shoot more.

“All we’ve talked about is being aggressive,” McMillan said. “I think sometimes he’s passing up some shots and looking for teammates and I like that, too, but we want him to be aggressive. We’ve personalized our offense a little bit more to get him the ball, move him around. He does a great job of moving off the ball, coming off screens.”

–Field Level Media

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