The Atlanta Hawks will try to finish their stretch of five road games in eight days strong when they play the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
Toronto, despite a miserable 7-14 record, has played better of late, winning three of five road games on a long West Coast road trip, although only a 111-106 OT victory over the Utah Jazz would be considered a "quality win". The good news for Atlanta is that the first game back home after a long trip is often considered the hardest game to win.
The Raptors, who haven't had a winning season in five years, have sunk to the very bottom of the NBA standings in the aftermath of years of poor drafting and Chris Bosh's departure in free agency in the summer of 2010.
The addition of new coach Dwayne Casey from the Dallas Mavericks has improved their defense (which gives up 92.9 points a game, 12th best in the NBA) by slowing the pace to a crawl (the league's 25th slowest) at the cost of their offense (which scores only 87.5 points a game, 3rd worst in the NBA).
The only Raptor who can consistently create his own shot is 7'0 PF Andrea Bargnani, averaging 23.5 points on 47.6% shooting, but he has an assist to turnover ratio of less than one and is widely considered one of the worst defenders in the NBA.
For the Hawks, the main concern about Tuesday's game is complacency, as Toronto is an easy team to overlook after more than a week on the road. Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith could all potentially have big games against the Raptors lackluster interior defense, which features only one player -- SF James Johnson -- averaging over a block a game.
The 7:00 PM game will be televised regionally on SSO ATL.
For the latest news and notes on the Hawks, head over to Peachtree Hoops, while Raptors HQ has you covered for all the pre-game analysis from Toronto.