Monday, December 10, 2007

Preview: Hawks at Magic

Tonight's game (a preview of a first-round playoff game, were the season to end, quite unexpectedly, today) kicks off a big week for the Hawks.

Josh Smith is reading a lot into the home wins over Minnesota (barely) and Memphis:
This is honestly the first time we've actually carved out an identity for ourselves. I know that sounds crazy but in my eyes, we're just now hitting our stride. For a long time we've played to whatever style was dictated to us. And we've had our struggles, and probably will have some more, everybody does. But the last couple of games have felt different.
There's no new news about Josh Childress's groin. He must still be planning to play tonight.

Orlando may be without Keith Bogans (bruised right quad muscle) tonight. Tim Povtak of The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reports that that might mean a start for Keyon Dooling. Decent-to-good choices to replace an injured starter--that's one of the major differences between the two franchises, though not as important as either a big free agent signing being Rashard Lewis rather than Zaza Pachulia or Speedy Claxton, or getting to draft Dwight Howard.

Howard may not be the Hawks greatest worry tonight. (Sure, he'll be the best player on the court but he's going to do what he's going to do so why wear yourself out worrying about him. Just start a pool about when Lorenzen Wright fouls out tonight.) No, the greatest threat to the Hawks tonight will be the tag-team of Jameer Nelson and Carlos Arroyo. Atlanta has demonstrated no ability to guard quick point guards at any point this season. If Anthony Johnson and Acie Law IV create a third option for Orlando's offense, the game could be out of hand before the Hawks have a chance to start warming up early for the third quarter.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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