1. Toronto exploded in the second quarter with 42 points and then outscored New York 27-8 in the third quarter en route to a 116-101 win over the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony finished with 18 points in New York’s second loss to the Raptors this season.
2. Kristaps Porzingis missed his second straight game on Sunday afternoon with a sore left Achilles. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said Porzingis is hopeful that he can return to the floor on Monday. However, Hornacek confirmed the medical staff will have to evaluate Porzingis prior to the matinee game against the Hawks. Porzingis’ replacement in the starting lineup suffered a fractured orbital bone in the first quarter of action on Sunday. Lance Thomas has concussion-like symptoms and is expected to be out for Monday’s contest.
3. Since the last time the two teams met, Atlanta made a significant roster move. The Hawks shipped sharpshooter Kyle Korver to Cleveland in exchange for Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams, and a protected first round draft pick. Korver, a career 43 percent shooter from deep, will now join the defending champs in its quest to repeat. On the flip side, Atlanta will look to former Knick Tim Hardaway Jr., Taurean Prince, and DeAndre Bembry to earn additional minutes. In Sunday’s game, Mike Budenholzer started Kent Bazemore in the frontcourt and brought Hardaway Jr. off the bench for 24 minutes while Dunleavy played 23.
4. The Hawks have won eight of their last nine games, including Sunday’s 111-98 victory over the Bucks. Hot shooting propelled Atlanta to the win, considering the home team hit 52.5 percent from the floor and 50 percent behind the arc. Bazemore led the Hawks with 24 points and Dunleavy posted 20 off the pine as they improved 23-17 on the season. Atlanta sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a fairly comfortable 3.5 game lead on the Wizards and just two games shy of Boston.
5. New York won the first meeting behind Anthony’s 31 points in its fourth straight home win on November 20. The second contest between the two squads resulted in a 102-98 overtime win for the Hawks. In a wild game on December 28, Anthony was ejected, Porzingis missed the first of three free throws that could have tied the game, and Derrick Rose scored 26. Monday’s game marks the third in the series and the final battle will take place later this month on January 29.
by Jonah Ballow