UPDATE: Mike Budenholzer has announced that Cartier Martin will start in place of Kyle Korver for tonight’s game. Joining Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford in the opening five.
Date: November 30, 2013
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 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
I’m not sure that anyone has taken a deep breath after the wild, 88-87 victory for the Hawks over the Mavericks on Friday night, but it’s a quick turnaround for Atlanta, as they travel to Washington on Saturday night to take on the Wizards.
The Wizards are currently 7-9 on the season, and while that may not seem like much, it places them firmly in the playoff picture in the East. However, they haven’t excelled on either end this season, currently placing 20th in offensive efficiency (99.5 points per 100 possessions) and 18th in defensive efficiency (102.2 points per 100).
In addition, Washington will be without one of their best players in shooting guard Bradley Beal, as he is on the shelf for at least 2 weeks due to a stress issue in his right leg. That should help to assist Atlanta’s defense here, as Beal was averaging north of 20 points per game through 13 outings, and with the historical issues defending wing players, it’s an undoubted plus for the Hawks.
The match-up to watch in this game is unquestionably the battle at the point guard position between Jeff Teague and Washington front man John Wall. I compared the two in depth during my plea for Teague as an All-Star starter, but Wall is a more than worth adversary. At 6-foot-4, he presents a size/athleticism combo that is virtually unmatched at the point, and if Teague brings a similar defensive effort from his Friday night showing (less than stellar), it’ll be a long night in the nation’s capital.
Up front, Al Horford and Paul Millsap will be facing off with an upsized duo of Nene and Marcin Gortat. It’s clear (at least to me) that Millsap and Horford are the better players at both spots, but the Wizards present a significant size advantage that compares favorably with most teams in the league, and that will be interesting for the frontcourt (Millsap, especially) to deal with.
On Kyle Korver watch, the sharpshooter will reportedly miss Saturday’s game (according to the AJC), and because of that, his pursuit of Dana Barros’ all-time 3-point mark is, once again, on hold. In addition, the Hawks will be without Lou Williams as a result of the back-to-back, and Korver’s absence leaves the perimeter very thin for Atlanta.
Las Vegas has set the Wizards as a 3.5-point favorite over the Hawks, basically throwing their hands up as to who is the “better” team and assigning the requisite credit for the Wizards playing at home. For me, I believe that the Hawks are better on a man-for-man basis than Washington, and because both teams are on back-to-backs that included travel, that should level the playing field a bit. This should be a fun one, and to be honest, it could be a playoff series preview in the East if everything falls into place.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night, and a full recap to follow.