The Atlanta Hawks needed to rely on Ivan Johnson's (who?) free-throw shooting to pick up a two-point victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, but they are likely hoping to keep the ball in the hands of their star players on Monday afternoon as they host the Toronto Raptors. The match-up will take place on NBA TV at 4 p.m. as part of the NBA's matinee games on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The Hawks are off to a better-than-expected 9-4 start to the season while relying on their defense as role players continue to step up until the starters find their rhythm. Swingman Joe Johnson looks to be on his way to finding his groove, however, as he scored a season-high 25 points in Atlanta's victory over the Wolves on Sunday.
Toronto is in the early stages of a road trip that will cause them to play eight of nine games outside of Canada. It didn't get off to a good as the Raptors dropped a 77-64 decision to the Chicago Bulls and could continue to be a bit ugly as Andrea Bargnani and Jerryd Bayless sit on the bench due to left leg injuries.
The Hawks shouldn't have much of a problem in Monday afternoon's contest, but there are always going to be surprise results this season as the NBA lockout-truncated regular season rolls on.