Raptors welcome Pelicans for Toronto matinee

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will try to break out of their funk of late on Sunday when they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Air Canada Centre for a matinee.

The Raptors have lost two of three and six of their last eight. Sunday's game will complete a six-game homestand and Toronto is just 2-3 thus far on the residency.

On Friday night, the Raptors welcomed the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks, and the results didn't go Toronto's way.

Atlanta dominated the contest and left with a 110-89 victory.

DeMar DeRozan, playing in his second game since a return from a groin injury, led the Raptors with 25 points. James Johnson added 17 points off the bench. Kyle Lowry was the only other Toronto player in double figures with 11 points.

The Hawks won every quarter, starting with a five-point cushion after the first. They led by 14 at the half, 17 after three quarters and were ahead by as many as 26 in the fourth before they finished with a 21-point margin of victory.

"That game right there was not us," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We're still in that rut. The only way to get out of it is work our way out of it."

The Raptors embark on a three-game road trip, starting Monday in Milwaukee and followed by visits to the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Pelicans are 1-2 on this five-game sojourn and fell under .500 thanks to a 96-81 loss to the Sixers on Friday night. That was the first time the 76ers won by double figures all season.

New Orleans big man Anthony Davis sat with a sprained left toe he suffered in Wednesday's win over Detroit and point guard Jrue Holiday, the former Sixer, missed a second game with right ankle inflammation.

Alexis Ajinca led New Orleans with a season-high 16 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. Eric Gordon added 16 points and Jimmer Fredette scored 13 for the Pelicans, who haven't won consecutive games since Dec. 16 and 18.

New Orleans coach Monty Williams said Davis' toe grew sore near the end of the Detroit game and didn't respond to treatment as well as the team would have liked. He said Davis and Holiday felt better, but weren't where they needed to be to play.

Williams pointed out that his five starters combined for 10 assists and 14 turnovers.

"We didn't play team basketball with that starting group," he said. "All the things we talk about that we don't want to do, we did tonight: turn the ball over, didn't play together, got outworked. Simple as that."

The Pelicans will close their trek in New York City against the Knicks on Monday.

The Raptors have won six straight against the Pelicans and eight of the last nine. Toronto has taken four consecutive meetings north of the border versus New Orleans.