Atlanta Hawks host Portland Trail Blazers


The Atlanta Hawks look to keep their winning streak alive when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. Tipoff is at 8:00 PM ET and the game will air on Fox Sports Southeast.

The Atlanta Hawks have won their last three games (Philadelphia, @Boston, @Orlando) to move to 17-12 on the year and back into playoff position at sixth in the East. Atlanta will get to host point guard Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night in the Blazers’ lone trip to the ATL this season.

This is a completely different looking Blazers team from the one the Atlanta Hawks played twice last year. It seems as though general manager Neil Olshey is going through a youth movement in the Rose City, with the team built around its All-Star point guard. Gone are power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio), small forward Nicolas Batum (Charlotte), shooting guard Wesley Matthews (Dallas), and center Robin Lopez (New York).

This youth movement has not been kind to the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference standings, as Portland sits at 13th in the West ahead of only the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers. Even with an 11-18 record on the year, the Blazers are only two games back of eighth place Utah Jazz in the shockingly down Western Conference.

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Atlanta has played a more consistently strong game of late, but will have to take better care of the basketball against a high-octane offense led by Lillard of the Blazers. The Atlanta Hawks turned the basketball over 20 times in their narrow victory over the Orlando Magic Sunday evening down in the Amway Center. Lillard will certainly capitalize on the Hawks’ mistakes should they again be a problem on Monday night in Atlanta.

The best way for the Atlanta Hawks to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night to win their fourth straight is to do what the team did the last time these two clubs faced off. Atlanta did a marvelous job attacking the paint against the Blazers in the Moda Center last winter. Many look at that rare win in the Rose City as the impetus for the Atlanta Hawks’ colossal run on wins in the early part of the calendar year.

Next: Atlanta Hawks survive vs. Orlando Magic, 103-100

Portland doesn’t have the bigs that it had last year so like for power forward Paul Millsap and center Al Horford to play well against the Blazers at home on Monday night. Let’s Go Hawks!