|Raptors next on Hawks' difficult slate|
ATLANTA -- The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks host their first back-to-back home games on Saturday when Toronto comes to Philips Arena for the first time this season.
Atlanta (4-15) broke a three-game losing streak on Friday by beating the New York Knicks 116-104. The win lifted the Hawks out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
Toronto (11-7) lost to the Indiana Pacers 107-104 on Friday and have dropped two straight. The defeat leaves the Raptors in fourth place in the East.
"We've lost some big games that were lose, that could have been our way easily, one shot, you know?" Toronto's DeMar DeRozan said. "It's hard to live in the past, but you give us a few of those games and we're right there with every great team in the league."
DeRozan was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 26.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and six assists in four games. On Friday, he extended his streak of consecutive games in double figures to 113 when he put up 13 points. He could tie the club record held by Kyle Lowery if he does it again on Saturday.
Lowery leads the team with 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists.
In their win on Friday, Atlanta used a 30-point third quarter and won their second home game of the year. The Hawks got 28 points from Dennis Schroder and outscored the Knicks 24-5 on second-chance points .
"Last in the second quarter and the entire second half we kind of imposed our will, beat them to 50-50 balls," Atlanta guard Kent Bazemore said.
Atlanta continues to work through some injury issues. Forward Mike Muscala has missed has missed the last ten games with a sprained left knee and forward Luke Babbit has been in and out of the lineup with tightness in his lower back. Forward Ersan Ilyasova is still playing his way back from a left knee bone bruise that caused him to miss eight games and has limited his minutes. Ilyasova played 25 minutes on Friday.
DeAndre Bembry is starting to play more minutes since returning from a right wrist injury in the season opener that required surgery. Bembry missed 14 games, but has played the last three and logged almost 14 minutes on Wednesday.
"This was my first time going through injuries," Bembry said. "It was just back to work with conditioning and other stuff that could help me get back on the court."
Toronto was helped by the return of Norman Powell. The guard returned on Wednesday against the Knicks after missing four games with a right hip injury and made three 3-pointers in the first quarter.
The Raptors will be without guard Delon Wright, who this week saw a specialist about his injured right shoulder. Wright dislocated his shoulder against New Orleans on Nov. 15. Doctors said no surgery was needed at this time. He had surgery on the same shoulder in 2016.
Atlanta won two of their three meetings with the Raptors last season, splitting two home games and winning on the road. Toronto's last win at Philips Arena was Dec. 2, 2015.