Mar 5, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic (6) drives past Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard (11) during the second quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Date: March 27, 2014
Tip-Off Time: 7:30 p.m.
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
With just 12 games left, the Atlanta Hawks are still in possession of a playoff seed, but after a 107-83 loss last night at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Hawks are now just two games up on the New York Knicks for that 8th and final playoff spot. Missing the playoffs at the hands of the Knicks would have seemed like a preposterous proposition just a few months ago when the Hawks started out the season 18-14 and the Knicks dropped 21 of their first 30, but the Knicks have won nine of their last 11 while the Hawks have dropped four in a row.
The Hawks will look to regain form tonight as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers beat the Hawks earlier this month, but have since lost 8 of their last 11 contests.
After missing seven games, Portland will receive a huge boost as All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge will likely be back in the lineup tonight. At 23.4 points per game and over 11 rebounds per game, Aldridge is one of the best in the league and for the second straight night the Hawks front court will have their hands full.
It is still unclear if the Hawks will regain the services of shooting guard Kyle Korver. Korver has missed the last four games with back spasms and the Hawks have lost all four. The Hawks have been one of the best three-point shooting teams all season long, stroking in to the tune of 37% from outside on the season, but over the last four games, without Korver the Hawks are shooting just 28% from three. At 48.5% on the season, Korver is still leading the league in three-point percentage, but has been heavily missed when out of the lineup, the Hawks are just 1-7 in games without Korver this season.
The three-point line is where the Trailblazers are used to keeping their focus. The Trailblazers are now number one in the league, making and attempting more threes than any other team in the league, while giving up the second fewest three-pointers made on the season, no team has kept opponents to less three-point attempts than the Trailblazers. The ‘Blazers are also the team that seemingly took it upon themselves to end Korver’s record breaking streak for consecutive games with a made three-point field goal earlier this month.
23 year old Damian Lillard is another must watch player for the Trailblazers, the second year pro out of Webber St. is averaging 21 points per game and nearly six assists per game. It figures that Jeff Teague vs Lillard will be the marque matchup this evening.
Our pals in Las Vegas place the Hawks as 4.5 point underdogs at home vs the Trailblazers tonight. I would speculate on the line, but at this point in the season, the Hawks are far too streaky for me to ever make any sort of guess on what the final score will be. A strong indication is that if the Hawks are without Korver and Pero Antic, they will have trouble breaking out of their losing streak.
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