On a Tear

The Toronto Raptors were unsettled at point guard after T.J. Ford was injured against the Atlanta Hawks in December. Jose Calderon has filled in nicely, partly because he does such a good job of getting the ball to Chris Bosh.

With Bosh on a tear, the Raptors face the Hawks for the first time since losing Ford as the teams continue their season series Friday night.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Toronto -6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 187 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Toronto -6 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Ford has not played since suffering a stinger and being taken off on a stretcher after being knocked to the ground by Atlanta rookie Al Horford in a 100-88 Raptors win on Dec. 11. Ford, averaging 14.1 points and 6.8 assists in 17 games, was cleared to resume workouts Jan. 9 and was expected to return home to Houston to work out with former NBA player John Lucas.

There is no timetable for his return to the Raptors (21-18).

Ford was headed to the basket when Horford hit the guard's face with his hand. Ford landed hard, with his head bouncing off the floor, and spent the night at a hospital before being released the following morning.

Horford was suspended one game for the flagrant foul.

Toronto is 9-8 since Ford's injury, with Calderon averaging 14.4 points and 9.3 assists since replacing him. Calderon had 17 points and 14 assists to help Bosh finish with a 31-point game in the Raptors' 116-91 win over Sacramento on Wednesday night.

Bosh, who added nine rebounds, has scored 20 or more points in seven of Toronto's past eight games. He is averaging 34.5 points and 11.5 rebounds while shooting 66.7 percent (26-for-39) from the field in his last two home games.

The fifth-year center has helped the Raptors win three straight at Air Canada Centre, averaging 113.7 points while holding opponents to 98.7 in that span.

"Chris is a bit of a quiet guy who is starting to become more vocal, but he just goes out and plays hard every night and he tries to get better," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "He is coachable, he listens to the things you tell him and the way he has played the last week and a half, he really cannot play any better."

The Raptors have a chance to match their longest home winning streak of the season as they face a Hawks team that has lost four straight on the road. Atlanta (17-18) has lost 10 of 15 road games this season and has not reached 100 points in any of those contests, averaging 87.9 points per game.

The Hawks shot 36.5 percent (27-for-74) in an 87-80 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday night, failing to make a basket for more than 12 minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters.

"It's hard to win when you're not able to make those shots in close games," Atlanta forward Josh Smith said. "We can look back and figure out what we did wrong."

Smith was one of the few productive Hawks in the game, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. Smith, though, was held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting versus the Raptors in December.

Joe Johnson, who tops Atlanta with 21.6 points per game, was held to 12 Wednesday while making just one of his five attempts from 3-point range. The veteran guard, however, is averaging 25.5 points while shooting 47.2 percent (17-for-36) from beyond the arc in his last six games against Toronto.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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