Preview: Bucks @ Hawks

delaney
Malcolm Delaney (peachtreehoops.com)

The Greek Freak invades Atlanta.

After a painful string of several close losses, the Atlanta Hawks now find themselves sitting at 1-5 and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The latest defeat came at the hands of former Hawk Paul Millsap and his Denver Nuggets in what was the Hawks’ first home game. Millsap and frontcourt mate Nikola Jokic combined to punish the Hawks in the paint in what turned out to be a 105-100 victory for Denver. Despite playing on a bad ankle, Dennis Schroder scored 20 points for Atlanta after missing two games with the injury.

The Milwaukee Bucks come into the matchup at 3-2, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference hierarchy. The big story with the Bucks has been the play of star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has averaged a ridiculous 35 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on the young season. The Bucks are coming off of a narrow home loss to the Boston Celtics.

Matchup to Watch

Thon Maker vs Dewayne Dedmon

Obviously, all eyes will be on Antetokounmpo and whichever Hawks is unfortunate enough to have to guard him. However, an intriguing matchup presents itself at the center position between Milwaukee’s second year man Thon Maker and newly signed Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon. Both of these centers are versatile for their position and both have huge wingspans that help them block shots and rebound at an elite level. Both have even shown an ability to hit the outside shot. It will be interesting to see who gains the upper hand in this matchup.

Injury Report

Hawks

Marco Belinelli: Probable

Dennis Schroder: Probable

Ersan Ilyasova: Out

Deandre’ Bembry: Out

Miles Plumlee: Out

Bucks

Jabari Parker: Out

3 Keys to the Game

1. Containing Milwaukee’s Supporting Cast

Antetokounmpo is the first true superstar caliber player that the Hawks will play this year, and obviously most of their defensive attention will be centered around him. However, in reality, there is no one on the Hawks who can stop Antetokounmpo from scoring 30-40 points in this game. What Atlanta will have to do is contain Milwaukee’s supporting cast to the best of their abilities. Role players like Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon could pour in twenty points if the Hawks aren’t careful. Atlanta must stay disciplined of defense so that there is only one player torching them instead of three.

2. Rebounding

The Hawks’ frontcourt of Mike Muscala and Dewayne Dedmon will be challenged by the sheer length of the Bucks, which includes seven-footer Thon Maker and another near seven-footer in Antetokounmpo. It will be vital for the Hawks to at least stay close in the rebounding battle to insure that Milwaukee isn’t able to get second chances on offense.

3. Taking smart shots

Throughout the first six games, the Hawks have had a tendency to pass up open shots in an attempt to guess what the defense will do before they actually do it. Often, wing players like Taurean Prince or Luke Babbitt will anticipate a closeout by a defender when none actually takes place, which forces discombobulated drives to the basket that often result in wild misses or turnovers. In order for this team to get over the hump and start closing out winnable games, they will have to slow down and, as the hall-of-famer Dominique Wilkins says, “take what the defense gives them.”

Projected Starters:

Hawks:

Guard – Dennis Schroder

Guard – Kent Bazemore

Forward – Taurean Prince

Forward – Mike Muscala

Center – Dewayne Dedmon

Bucks:

Guard – Malcolm Brogdon

Guard – Tony Snell

Forward – Khris Middleton

Forward – Giannis Antetokounmpo

Center – Thon Maker

TV/Radio

Tipoff: 3:30 PM ET

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Next 3 Games

11/1 @ 76ers

11/3 vs Rockets

11/5 @ Cavaliers

 

Jackson Stone

@tdjs_network

 

 

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Jackson Stone
ATL REPRESENT

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