Update: The AJC is reporting that the Hawks will use the “normal” starting lineup for tonight’s game, along with the news that Elton Brand will be the team’s inactive player with Lou Williams in the lineup.
Date: November 26, 2013
Tip-Off Time: 7:30 PM ET
TV Channel: SportSouth (Local in Atlanta), NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Atlanta Hawks Radio Network Affiliates
Live Stream: League Pass Broadband
The Hawks lost in disappointing fashion on Saturday night when they seemingly ran out of gas against the Boston Celtics, but after two days of rest, the team returns to the Philips Arena court for a battle with the division rival Orlando Magic.
Orlando enters at 4-9 on the season, and while they are certainly not a playoff contender in the minds of most people, they’ve stopped short of full-fledged tanking to this point. The Magic do have some talent on the roster, with guys like Arron Afflalo (who’s been great this season), Nikola Vucevic, and rookie stud Victor Oladipo.
From a match-up standpoint, there are a few key areas to watch here. The “headliner” for me is the face-off between Vucevic and Al Horford, as Horford thoroughly dominated their last match-up (holding Vucevic to 7 points on 3-for-10 shooting) in Atlanta. I wouldn’t expect quite that type of line from the young Orlando big man again, but if Al can once again win that battle, it would be a great sign for Atlanta’s chances.
On the perimeter, Afflalo presents an interesting match-up issue of his own. The Hawks have announced that Lou Williams will play in this game, so we should see a significant amount of that 1-on-1 battle, but when Lou’s off the floor, I’m very interested to see if Coach Bud will utilize his stopper (DeMarre Carroll) on Afflalo, or simply roll with whoever is playing the shooting guard spot at the time.
The Hawks should be able to generate offense in this game, as Orlando enters the night ranked just 16th in defensive efficiency. They’ve been very competitive and have some above-average defenders (Oladipo, for one), but guys like Jameer Nelson aren’t exactly world-beaters on that end. On the other end of the floor, however, the Hawks have ascended into the top-10 of the league in defensive efficiency (allowing 99.8 points per 100 possessions), and they’ll look to better that mark against the league’s 17th-rated offense.
It’s becoming a running subplot to discuss Kyle Korver’s relentless pursuit of the NBA record for most consecutive games with a 3-pointer, and he can get one game closer tonight. Kyle currently sits at 87 straight, and with a three tonight, he’ll climb within one of the the all-time mark held by Dana Barros.
Las Vegas has opened this line with the Hawks as an 8-point favorite, and while that may seem a bit high, I think it’s in the right area. The Hawks are significantly better than the Magic, and when you factor in that Atlanta is playing at home and coming off of a disappointing loss, I believe we’ll see a motivated and determined Hawks team when the game tips-off tonight.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night, and a full recap to follow.