Atlanta Hawks Take on Pelicans in NOLA


The Atlanta Hawks travel to the Crescent City to take on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Atlanta Hawks (5-1) are on a five-game winning streak after dropping their home opener against the Detroit Pistons. New Orleans (0-4) has dealt with a myriad of injuries to their important rotational pieces, thus remaining winless. Can the Atlanta Hawks move to 6-1 when they take on The Brow and the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans in the Smoothie King Center Friday Night?

Keep in mind that the Atlanta Hawks lost the last regular season meeting between the Pelicans in New Orleans. Anthony Davis had an outstanding game and the Atlanta Hawks had their franchise-best 19 game winning streak snapped in early February 2015.

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Just because the Pelicans haven’t won a game yet and are dealing with a bout with the injury bug, doesn’t mean that they won’t want to put up a fight against one of the stronger teams in the Eastern Conference in the Atlanta Hawks. New Orleans still has a great shot to get back into the Western Conference Playoffs in 2016, solely because they might have the best basketball player on the planet in Anthony Davis. He’s must-see television!

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Outside of Davis, the Hawks will need to account for the sharpshooting tandem of SG Eric Gordon and PF Ryan Anderson, both of whom can stretch the floor with their strong outside shots. This game also will feature a matchup of brothers as Hawks wing Justin Holiday will get to play his older brother Jrue Holiday tonight. Perhaps they will be on the court at the same time and will have to guard one another. Justin did play very well in extended minutes against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Through six games, the Atlanta Hawks are the 8th best defensive team in the NBA with a 98.8 defensive rating. The strong defensive play of SF Thabo Sefolosha and PF Paul Millsap continues to anchor this team in the early parts of the 2015-16 NBA Season.

Surely, Millsap, C Al Horford, and C Tiago Splitter will have their hands full trying to guard Anthony Davis. Sefolosha, Holiday, SF Kent Bazemore and SG Kyle Korver will have to do their best to slow down both Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson out on the perimeter.

Fortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, the New Orleans Pelicans are a lousy defensive team through their first four games, with defensive rating of 112.2, good enough for 28th in the NBA. Their new head coach Alvin Gentry was supposedly hired to get this team to play better defensively in 2015-16 and it isn’t working out in the first two weeks of the season.

The Pelicans were a Top 10 offensive team in 2014-15, but sit at 25th in the NBA at 98.3. Though the Pelicans are scoring 100.8 points a game, their defense is allowing a horrendous 115.0 points per game, the second worst mark in the NBA.

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Expect the Atlanta Hawks to use their dynamic point guard duo of Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder to put some distance between them and the Pelicans. With both Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole out with significant injuries, who besides Jrue Holiday is going to handle the ball for New Orleans tonight?

We saw how the Atlanta Hawks dominated the point guard duo of Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. The point guard situation in NOLA might be the bleakest in the NBA in the early part of the 2015-16 NBA Season.

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For Atlanta to win, they will need to play great defense around the perimeter and hope that Davis doesn’t have a 40+ point game or a triple-double. New Orleans is struggling mightily out of the gate, so look for the Atlanta Hawks to keep the Pelicans winless after hopefully another Hawks’ victory Friday night. Let’s Go Hawks!