National Basketball Association
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                      === Raptors host slumping Hawks ===
 ( - The Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game slide last time
 out and hope home is good to them once again Wednesday when they host the
 Atlanta Hawks.
 The Raptors dropped the final two games of their western road trip, but went
 2-3 overall on the sojourn. After a return to the great north, the Raptors
 dispatched the New Orleans Pelicans, 108-101 on Monday.
 Patrick Patterson had 22 points and six rebounds to help the Raptors. Kyle
 Lowry flirted with a triple-double thanks to 19 points, 12 assists and seven
 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points for the Raptors, who had dropped
 three of four coming in.
 "The two games we have this week before the break are very important," said
 Patterson. "It can determine if we're sitting third, fourth or fifth in the
 Eastern Conference."
 Terrence Ross (14) and Tyler Hansbrough (12) also scored in double figures.
 Amir Johnson missed Monday's game with a bruised left ankle and is listed as
 questionable for Wednesday's contest.
 The Raptors will lead the Atlantic Division at the All-Star break, it's just a
 matter of by how many games. At the start of Wednesday, the Raps lead the
 Brooklyn Nets by three games.
 The Hawks are struggling and fell back to .500 on Tuesday with a 15-point loss
 in Chicago. Atlanta has dropped four straight, including two in a row on the
 On Tuesday, the Hawks couldn't handle Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah and
 all five Chicago starters scored in double figures as the Bulls won 100-85.
 Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 15 points, Lou Williams chipped in 13 and Jeff
 Teague had 12 in the club's season-high fourth consecutive setback. Millsap
 had his streak of 21 straight games with a steal come to an end.
 The Hawks' sixth straight loss in Chicago can be attributed to a slow start
 that put them in a 25-point hole late in the first half. The Bulls held a
 sizeable 54-23 rebounding advantage and scored at least 100 points for just
 the second time in the last 11 games.
 "Tonight we were battling uphill. It has just been one of those weeks for us,"
 Williams said.
 Atlanta's Kyle Korver extended his NBA record of making at least one deep ball
 to 119 games. He finished with seven points and DeMarre Carroll was the only
 other Hawks player in double digits with 11.
 The Hawks beat the Raptors by seven in Atlanta on Nov. 1 and have won 10 of
 the last 12 meetings between the teams. The Hawks have won five straight in
 02/12 10:06:53 ET