I'm not going to write a lot of game previews here. Over the last couple of years at The Phog Blog that there's only so many ways to write, "If they take care of the ball, force some turnovers, make their shots, force misses, control the offensive and/or defensive glass, etc., etc., they'll win." If I have something of particular (assumed) interest, I'll share it.
Of particular interest tonight should be the difference in athleticism between the Hawks and the Nets. Nenad Krstic is still recovering from his ACL tear, Vince Carter's sore thumb is affecting both his jump shot and ball-handling, and Jason Kidd has a thigh bruise. In perfect health the Nets frontline would be at an athletic disadvantage against the Hawks. It's the impact of Kidd's thigh bruise that I'll be watching most closely tonight. If he's visibly hobbled, there's a chance the Hawks' point guards could appear to be adequate defensively.
Regular Hawks watchers are well away that an advantage in athleticism does not necessarily result in any tangible basketball advantages, but it does increase the likelihood that the Hawks start the year (a better than expected) 2-1. Of course, simply having Josh Smith play well past the first quarter would go a long way to securing that second win tonight.
I've added links to the Hawks' pages at BasketballValue.com, 82games.com, and Knickerblogger.net in the Hawks Links section at the right. I wouldn't choose to draw conclusions from the numbers after just two games, but I'll be sure to do so as the season progresses. Especially if any of the numbers should reinforce any opinions or prejudices I already hold.
The first week power rankings are out at SI.com (Marty Burns), ESPN.com (Marc Stein), NBA.com (John Schuhmann), and FOXSports.com (DIME Magazine).
LINKS TO LINKS
Micah Hart's Daily Links on the Hawks BasketBlog make some (but not all) of this post redundant and are essential reading.