UPDATE #3: Washington will be short-handed tonight, as Chris Vivlamore reports the absence of NeNe from the lineup.
Nene out, Webster in for Wizards vs. #ATLHawks
— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) December 13, 2013
UPDATE #2: Hawks shooting guard John Jenkins has been recalled from the D-League and WILL be available for tonight’s game.
ROSTER UPDATE: We have recalled John Jenkins from Bakersfield. Details here: http://t.co/43RcG6KHvz
UPDATE: According to Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, Washington has listed both Nene (see below) and swingman Martell Webster as “questionable” for tonight’s game. Will update as info comes available.
Date: December 13, 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
Just two weeks ago, the Hawks were in the nation’s capital to take on the Wizards, and the result was a less than desirable 108-101 defeat. Now, Washington returns the favor with a home game in Atlanta, as the two teams square off in a Friday night duel.
Coming in to the night, the Hawks are blessed with the 3rd-best mark in the East at 11-11 (insert laughter here), but the Wizards aren’t far behind at 9-11 and in the 6th spot. Washington is 16th in the league in net rating (-1.2 points per 100 possessions) while the Hawks are 14th (0.2 points per 100), and this is about as “even” of a match-up as you’ll see in the NBA.
It seems to be a running theme/joke that Jeff Teague has the match-up to watch in every game, but that is, once again, the case here against Washington point guard John Wall. I famously compared the two in a plea for Teague to start the All-Star game, but since then, Wall has taken a leap forward while Teague has struggled a bit. In addition to the statistical edge for Wall (20.90 PER, #2 in the NBA at 9.1 assists per game), he is also a physical freak at 6-foot-4 with crazy athleticism and speed, and that will be a tall task for the slighter Teague.
Up front, though, the Hawks have an advantage. Al Horford faces off with the newly-acquired Marcin Gortat, and while Gortat has a big size advantage (as most centers do against Al), Horford is much quicker and more skillful, which should allow him to get anywhere he wants in this one. At the power forward spot, Paul Millsap has the biggest edge of anyone on the floor, as he is likely to face off with some combination of Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely in the definite absence of Al Harrington and the likely absence of NeNe.
Kyle Korver continues his assault on the history books, as he tries to extend his NBA record of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer to 92 in this one. On the year, Washington is in the bottom 10 in total 3′s allowed, and they rank just 16th in opponent’s 3-point percentage at 35.9%. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kyle (who is coming off of a rough shooting night on Tuesday) get this one out of the way early.
The Hawks will be a bit short-handed in this one, as Gustavo Ayon has been declared out for tonight’s game after also missing Tuesday with left leg injuries. That should mean a good dose of Elton Brand and/or Pero Antic in this one, but fortunately, Washington is facing their aforementioned depth issues up front, and the Hawks will need nothing more than average production from their backup bigs.
Las Vegas has made the Hawks a significant favorite of 5.5 points in this game, and that’s a rare hat tip to Atlanta. Playing at home and on 2 full days rest, I think this is a very winnable spot for the Hawks, and it would be pretty disappointing if they came out flat against a team that they likely have a talent edge on with the way both rosters are built. John Wall and company won’t go lightly, but it should be a fun night at Philips.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night, and a full recap to follow.