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Raptors Take Advantage of Off Night from the Hawks, Knicks Will Try for the Same

Hawks Kyle Korver

Hawks Kyle Korver

Bottom of the Atlantic Division Toronto Raptors (32-48) showed up against the Atlanta Hawks (44-36) on Tuesday and won 113-96. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 30 points, followed by Rudy Gay contributing 22 points.

The Hawks appeared lackluster, with their eyes already on the playoffs. Kyle Korver was the Hawks’ leading scorer with his 13 points. This extended his 3-point streak to 73 straight games.

Korver wasn’t thrilled with his team’s play and said via CBSSports.com, “I just go in the game when they tell me to. For some people, the rest is good. But you also want to be in a rhythm. There’s a balance to it. We’re kind of walking that right now.”

With the loss, the Hawks, resting some key players during the game, saw their playoff seed drop to No. 6 in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the Chicago Bulls (44-37) for the fifth seed but the Bulls own the tiebreaker.

On Wednesday, should either the Bulls win or the Hawks lose, Chicago will then end things with the fifth seed and face the Brooklyn Nets (48-33) for Round 1. The Bulls will take on the Washington Wizards (29-52) and look like the winner (-8.5, 186.5 o/u).

As for the Hawks with their sixth seed, they’d play the Indiana Pacers (49-31).

At the end of the day, all teams are trying to avoid the No. 1 seed Miami Heat (65-16) in the first round, who are 2 to 3 to win it all.

As for the Boston Celtics (41-39), their Tuesday game against the Pacers had been canceled in light of Monday’s bombings in Boston. The league has not rescheduled the game and it will not affect the East’s final standings.

The Celtics sit with a No. 7 seed and will face the New York Knicks (53-28) in the first round. New York has 15 to 1 odds to win this year’s NBA Championship.

The Celtics will end their regular season on Wednesday against the Raptors in Toronto.

In other Wednesday action, it’s a jam-packed schedule. One of the more interesting games is the Hawks vs. the Knicks. Was the Hawks’ recent loss just a fluke or is the team really not that good?

Hawks vs. Knicks

With Wednesday’s game as their last one for the regular season, the Hawks will be playing for the No. 5 seed (as they hope for a Bull’s loss) and a chance to end the Knicks’ nine-game home win streak.

As for the Knicks, their postseason fate is already sealed, facing the Celtics and now the question is, what kind of game will they play to wrap up the season on Wednesday?

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

There’s always the Carmelo Anthony factor to possibly contend with on Wednesday. He sat out in Monday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets (20-61) as he averages 28.7 points per game. He is battling Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, who sits with 28.1 PPG, for the league’s highest scorer and is 5 to 8 to capture the title.

Playing on Wednesday will likely be determined by the player not his coach. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said via ESPN, “If ‘Melo and those guys want to sit out Wednesday, then that’s on them, but I’m thinking that they’re probably going to play.”

“Those guys” refers to Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler (bulging disc) and Kenyon Martin (sprained left ankle) who joined Anthony on the bench for Monday’s game.

Chandler and Martin are not expected to play and the team’s notes has Anthony listed as out with a sore shoulder.

Without these usual starters, look for Steve Novak to again play along with rookie Chris Copeland. On Monday, Coperland grabbed 32 points–a season-high for him.

For the Hawks, they have already rested some of their starters. Center Al Horford was out from chest soreness and whether he’ll play on Wednesday, it is unknown.








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