UPDATE #2: The Hawks have announced that point guard Dennis Schröder has been assigned to the Bakersfield Jam (Atlanta’s D-League affiliate), leaving Shelvin Mack and Lou Williams as the only available backup point guard options.
UPDATE: According to the AJC, Kyle Korver “expects to play” tonight. This is a huge boost to the offense, and all eyes will be on Kyle as he goes for the 3-point record.
Date: December 4, 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
Wednesday night brings the Los Angeles Clippers to Atlanta for their one and only visit to Philips Arena this season. I like to refer to the Clips as the “Chris Paul Traveling Road Show”, but they are a fantastically exciting offensive team captained by the best point guard alive, and that automatically makes this match-up intriguing.
Speaking of Paul, his match-up with Jeff Teague should be must-see TV. Teague held his own during Monday’s tough loss in San Antonio, but Paul is probably even a step up from Tony Parker, and everything that LA does comes from the way he runs their high-powered offense. The defensive end will be huge for Teague, and since he’s not known for being a lockdown defender, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Shelvin Mack and/or Lou Williams get some looks on Paul in two-PG lineups.
Paul engineers LA’s 4th-ranked offense, as the Clips are scoring 107.7 points per 100 possessions on the season. He’s flanked by high-flying power forward Blake Griffin and a bevy of shooters, and their balance makes them difficult to guard. I would expect Paul Millsap to draw the chief assignment on Griffin, but Al Horford and Mike Scott will also likely see time on the Sprite spokesman.
On the wing, the Clippers are beat up a bit (sound familiar, Hawks fans?) as sharpshooter JJ Redick is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks with a hand injury. That injury, while unfortunate for Redick, should really help the Hawks in terms of being able to guard LA’s shooters, as they are down to just Jared Dudley, and our old friends Jamal Crawford and Willie Green on the wing. Lou Williams’ availability is big in this game, as neither Crawford or Green has the size to beat up on him on the box, and that should help Coach Bud use his “best 5″ for more minutes.
On Kyle Korver watch, we don’t know a lot at the time of this posting. There will surely be updates throughout the day, but after an extended rest, I think Kyle is probably more than 50% to go here, based on a pure gut feeling. If he can go, he’ll give the Hawks a much-needed dimension of shooting, and in the process, Korver will be aiming to tie Dana Barros for the all-time NBA record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer at 89 straight. Stay tuned for more updates as they come in.
The Los Angeles defense has been suspect this season, and that is where Atlanta should make its push on Wednesday night. The Clippers are 6th in the NBA in “net rating”, outscoring their opponents by 5.0 points per 100 possessions, but their defense is middle of the pack (102.7 points per 100), and the Hawks played very, very well on that end against San Antonio. Redick’s absence also makes them a bit weaker on the wing (simply because Crawford and Green are subpar), and it would also help the Hawks if Al Horford could gain traction against the bigger DeAndre Jordan.
Our close confidants in Las Vegas have made the visiting Clippers a 3.5-point favorite in Philips Arena, and that’s a bit of a “challenge” to the Hawks. Los Angeles is the better team on paper, but given their shorthanded nature and the venue of the game, this is a more than winnable spot for the Hawks, and I’d expect to see their “A”-game on the first night of a long homestand.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night, and a full recap to follow.