High-flying Hawks set for rematch with Raptors

The visiting Atlanta Hawks will try to avenge a loss that ended their seven-game winning streak when they play the return match with the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

With Gary Trent Jr. scoring 31 points, the Raptors defeated the Hawks 106-100 on Monday in Atlanta.

«I thought they established the tempo with their defensive pressure pretty much all night long,» Hawks coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. «I thought defensively for us, I thought we were back on our heels and they were in the attack mode, so they were the aggressors throughout this game.»

Both teams won their games on Thursday.

Trae Young returned from a shoulder injury to lead the Hawks to a 124-115 victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns in their first game since the loss to Toronto.

The Raptors defeated the visiting Chicago Bulls 127-120 in overtime, with Pascal Siakam recording 25 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. They have won four straight.

Siakam also had two steals and a blocked shot. His defense has impressed coach Nick Nurse.

«I think that’s probably been the most noticeable,» Nurse said. «I know the numbers have been good, and the assist numbers have been high at certain times, and all those kinds of things.

«(However) there’s blocked shots, there are defensive plays being made on the perimeter and at the basket by him. He’s long and he’s athletic and he’s quick, and those are the things that. … stood out to me.»

The Raptors have gone to overtime twice in their past four games. They defeated the host Miami Heat in triple overtime on Saturday.

Trent had his streak of five games with 30 or more points end when he scored 16 points on Thursday. The streak matched the team record set in 2016 by DeMar DeRozan, now with the Bulls.

Trent did make an important contribution in overtime with a steal followed by a 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left in overtime to extend the lead to five points. Scottie Barnes, whose tip layup had tied the game with 0.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, had given Toronto the lead in overtime with a 3-foot bank shot.

Young, who did not play on Monday and was a game-time decision on Thursday, shot 16-for-25, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range, and added five assists.

«I wish (the shoulder) was 100 percent fine,» Young said. «It’s still sore.»

John Collins, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds Thursday for Atlanta, went to the locker room with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter but returned to the bench. Collins said his shoulder hurt this week, and it was aggravated when he tangled with Chris Paul on Thursday. Collins expects to play Friday.

«I feel better now,» Collins said. «We’re on it, trying to fix it where I can go play (Friday). All is well, but obviously it’s something we have to monitor and make sure it gets better.»

The Hawks have won eight of their past nine.

«I think we’re focusing on the defensive end first,» Young said. «Just letting the offensive end come to us. That’s the right mindset to have. We understand what we can do on the offensive end, so just making sure we’re locked in on defense to begin with and make it tough on teams.»

–Field Level Media