Atlanta Hawks vs. Toronto Raptors Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 23rd 2024

The Atlanta Hawks begin their push for a postseason berth coming out of the All-Star break with a home date on Friday against the Toronto Raptors, but they will do so with some question marks in the frontcourt.

Hawks coach Quin Snyder said Onyeka Okongwu, who is averaging 10.2 points, seven rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game, will be out for “the foreseeable future” due to a left toe sprain.

While fellow big man Clint Capela is expected back from an adductor strain that sidelined him six games going into the break, Snyder said Capela will be on a minutes restriction.

Uncertainty due to injuries going into the late-season stretch continues the campaign-long trend Snyder described to reporters.

“We’ve been inconsistent in some areas,” he said. “You can’t wallow in it with Onyeka’s situation right now. He was playing really well. We’ve lost some key guys at various times, so it’s trying to get through that.”

Atlanta embarks on its final 27 games in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, the last spot that qualifies for the postseason play-in. Friday’s date is the first of three straight home games for the Hawks.

Toronto comes in to play the second leg of a back-to-back. The Raptors returned from the break on Thursday with a 121-93 rout of Brooklyn.

The win snapped a three-game skid for the Raptors, and the 93 points marked a season-low yield from the Raptors’ defense. Toronto last held an opponent to fewer than 100 points on Dec. 18.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 25 points in the win Thursday, while Immanuel Quickley added 24 points. It was his eighth game with at least 20 points since joining Toronto in a trade from New York just before the new year. Five of his seven games posting at least 24 have come with the Raptors.

“I like his aggressiveness, our team likes his aggressiveness, his teammates like his aggressiveness,” Toronto coach Darko Rajakovic said.

RJ Barrett, who came with Quickley in the deal that sent OG Onunoby to New York, scored 12 points against Brooklyn. He carries a streak of 13 games scoring in double figures into Atlanta.

Toronto played without both Barrett and Quickley in its last matchup with Atlanta, a 126-125 Hawks win on Jan. 28. Trae Young scored 30 points and dished 12 assists in that contest.

Young was selected to his third All-Star Game and went into the break averaging 26.7 points and 10.9 assists. He has recorded double-doubles in each of Atlanta’s three matchups with Toronto this season, going for 35 points with 17 assists and 38 points with 11 assists in back-to-back games on Dec. 13 and 15.

“We’ve got no other choice but to be ready,” Young said about contending for a playoff berth. “I obviously want to get into the playoffs and try to surprise people, but who knows? We’ve got to continue to focus on one game at a time.”

–Field Level Media

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