for this game

Hawks-Raptors Preview

Mar 9, 2016 - 6:22 PM Jeff Teague and the Atlanta Hawks made some major strides on the Western Conference portion of their current road trip.

Heading back east may not be easy since Teague had a tough time stopping Kyle Lowry the last time he faced the Toronto Raptors.

These point guards match up for the second time this season Thursday night when the Hawks complete a five-game trek.

Atlanta (36-28) began this trip last Tuesday with a 109-105 overtime loss to Golden State, which played without MVP Stephen Curry. The Hawks took the next three games, including an impressive 107-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday followed by Tuesday's 91-84 win over Utah.

Those wins featured strong efforts by Teague, who totaled 46 points and made 17 of 33 shots - 6 of 10 from 3-point range. He had combined for 29 points in the previous three games.

"This is the Jeff I'm used to seeing and hopefully he keeps that going because when he plays at that level, we're a very tough team to beat,'' center Al Horford said.

Lowry also has been hot from outside, hitting 11 of his last 20 3-point attempts, and is averaging 28.6 points in his past six games.

Teague was outscored 31-11 by Lowry in the first meeting Dec. 2, as the Raptors (42-20) won 96-86 on the road. Teague missed 11 of 16 shots, although he had 10 assists.

While Teague is one of the NBA's top guards in drives per game with 11.0, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan leads in that category with 11.8 while averaging a league-best 8.8 points off drives.

DeRozan scored 15 of his 25 points after halftime as the Raptors rallied for Tuesday's 104-99 home win over Brooklyn. The 16-point halftime deficit matched Toronto's largest of the season.

''We came out of the second half and that is who we have to be," coach Dwane Casey said. "But we have to start that at the beginning of the game.''

Lowry had 23 points and nine assists, and Bismack Biyombo grabbed 10 boards to help the Raptors to a 40-29 edge on the glass.

Toronto may exploit a similar advantage Thursday with a rebound margin of plus-2.3 since Atlanta is at minus-4.3 for the league's second-worst mark. The Raptors held a 50-43 edge in the first matchup.

Toronto has won 13 of 14 at home while averaging 107.4 points. Atlanta has allowed 86.5 per game in regulation while winning five of six overall.

The Raptors are shooting an East-leading 36.9 percent on 3-pointers, and Atlanta is at 34.7 percent after finishing second in the league at 38.0 a season ago. Kyle Korver led the NBA with 8.5 catch-and-shoot-points per game, and that figure is down to 5.8 - with Horford averaging more at 6.1.

"Last year, we caught some people off guard," Horford said. "For us, this year, it's been about trying to make adjustments offensively and trying to figure out how we can score the ball.''

Hawks forward Kent Bazemore had six points Tuesday after averaging 14.6 over his previous five games. Bazemore averages 0.82 points per elbow touch for one of the NBA's best marks among players who are regular starters.