Hawks put streaks to test against Raptors

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(SportsNetwork.com) - Two Eastern Conference titans clash Friday night when the conference-leading Atlanta Hawks visit Air Canada Centre to face the Toronto Raptors.

The Hawks own a four-game cushion over the Washington Wizards for east supremacy, while the Raptors trail by 4 1/2 games and sit third in the conference.

The Hawks have won 10 straight and 24 of their last 26. They own a franchise- best 10-game road winning streak and face stiff challenges to end this current four-game sojourn. After facing the Raptors on Friday, the Hawks battle the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

The winning streak reached 10 games with a 105-91 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

Despite missing Al Horford and Kyle Korver, the Hawks had no problem dispatching the Celtics.

Playing back-to-back games against Philadelphia and Boston, the Hawks decided to give their five starters some rest with Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll sitting out Tuesday's win over the 76ers.

"We're playing as a group," Millsap said. "We're not playing as a bunch of individuals."

All three came back with impressive efforts. Carroll and Teague led all scorers with 22 points apiece, and Millsap added 18 points with 10 rebounds. Mike Scott chipped in 11 off the bench.

The game was tied after one quarter, but Atlanta shot 63.2 percent in the second and pulled away. The Hawks used a 12-0 run to break a tie and held a lead for the rest of the game.

The Raptors received a huge boost last time out.

DeMar DeRozan returned from a groin injury to score 20 points and the Raptors led wire-to-wire for a much-needed 100-84 win over the 76ers on Wednesday night.

DeRozan played 29 minutes after missing the previous 21 games with a muscle tear in his groin.

"It was better than what I thought it was," DeRozan said of his return. "I felt good. We just wanted to see how I felt, get that first one under my belt and go from there with it."

Lou Williams added 19 points and Kyle Lowry scored 18 with 12 assists for the Raptors, who led by as much as 20 but didn't take a double-digit lead for good until Patrick Patterson's 3-pointer with under seven minutes remaining.

Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 12 points for Toronto and Amir Johnson scored 10 with 16 rebounds.

The Atlantic Division leaders have been on a bit of a slide, losing five of their past seven games. They are 2-2 on a six-game homestand, which ends Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Raptors have won three straight against the Hawks, but Atlanta is 5-3 in its last eight north of the border. That's a tad misleading considering the three losses for the Hawks in Toronto have come in their last three visits.