Need a quick victory to add to your win column? The Toronto Raptors just might oblige you. Of course, this isn’t the attitude the Hawks should be taking as they prepare to fend off a squad that has zero wins in it’s last twelve games. In fact, that may be the perfect trap game.
The danger here is if the Hawks play lazy, lethargic, or disinterested, they run the chance of canceling out their road wins against the Raptors and Clippers. Doesn’t sound like a big deal though, right? Well consider this – the Hawks lost only 7 home games during the entire regular season last year. This season, they’ve already lost 7 home games, and the all-star break isn’t even here yet. On the plus side, the Hawks only won 19 road games last season. This season? They have 15 road victories already. How do we explain such a change in fortunes? Does this bode well for the Hawks, or is this simply a trade-off in the standings columns that will have no effect when the postseason comes around?
Regardless of the view on that, the Hawks need to become a better team at home. Two straight home games against opponents with losing records is a good way to pad that home record.
HAWKS VS RAPTORS
The Skinny : The Raptors will be missing Reggie Evans, Linas Kleiza, and Leandro Barbosa. That’s good news for the Hawks, whose backcourt rotational players would just as soon not have to chase the speedy Barbosa all over the court. Kleiza is a decent scorer and rebounder, and the Raptors could have used his help as well.
The Hawks will be missing Marvin Williams. Nothing against Williams, but that won’t hurt the Hawks nearly as much as the Raptors will hurt by missing their guys. This game should be won by the Hawks in a blowout. Will it?
LD sets the rotation
Despite what the numbers look like for the Hawks defensively, Head Coach Larry Drew thinks Atlanta only needs to go big situationally. That is certainly good news for forward Marvin Williams, who would have seen himself in a 7th man role (hey, Jamal is the Sixth man as long as he’s here) if Jason Collins became the regular starter at center. It’s also good news for Zaza Pachulia, who does not react well to being the third center in the game. It’s not necessarily his attitude, but rather the production in truncated minutes. Pachulia’s play can be pivotal to the overall production of the bench, particularly in the category of rebounding.
Pick tonight’s star of the game
Which Atlanta Hawk has the biggest game tonight? Will it be Joe Johnson, who seems determined to make a 5th straight all-star bid? How about Al Horford, who may be getting his second appearance in the big game? Or Josh Smith? Jamal Crawford? You pick.
By Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog