Preview: Blazers @ Hawks

delaney
Malcolm Delaney (peachtreehoops.com)

Preview: (POR 18-16 ) @ ATL (9-26) 12/30/17 7:30 PM Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA. 

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off tough 111-98 loss to the hands of the Toronto Raptors. The Hawks were lead by Taurean Prince who set a Career High with 30 Points on 75 % Shooting to go along with 10 Rebounds. Dennis had a rough shooting night but still managed 14 Points, 5 Rebounds, 9 Assists and 2 Steals. Marco helped claw the Hawks within shouting distance late with his 14 and John Collins had 11 Points, 8 Rebounds and 4 Blocks.

Turnovers and a few lapses on Defense and in Rebounding really cost Atlanta this game. But as usual, they fought and despite getting down by as many as 22 points, made it a game in the 4th Quarter.

As for Portland, they have been on a rollercoaster ride so far this season. While they sit at a respectable 18-16, they have already gone through a 7-2 stretch, a six game home losing streak, as well as a five game losing streak. Damian Lillard is expected to make his return after sitting out the past few games with a Hamstring injury.

In his absence, reserve Guard Shabazz Napier has filled in nicely and even sparked their huge comeback win over the 76ers Thursday Night on TNT.

In this matchup, the Hawks will need to slow down the dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and Cj McCollum. Lillard is still officially listed as Day-To-Day with a Hamstring injury but should play.

Key Matchup

The Backcourt

As stated, Portlands backcourt is one of the most explosive in the league. You can put them right in the conversation with Beal/Wall, Lowry/Derozan and Curry/Thompson. You aren’t going to stop them but it will be vital for Dennis and Bazemore to slow them down.

 

Injury Report

Hawks

DeWayne Dedmon- Out

Blazers

Damian Lillard- Day To Day

Noah Vonleh- Day To Day

 

Collins (@JameelahNBA)
Collins Baptizes Luke Kennard (@JameelahNBA Twitter)

Three Keys to the Game

1. Defend The Backcourt

It goes without saying, but the dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are Portland’s strength. It will be vital for Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore to hold their own against them.

2. Don’t Fall Behind

The Hawks are decent at playing from behind but they exhaust so much energy doing so that they usually don’t have enough to pull completely through in the 4th quarter. They have done slightly better as of late but need to continue that trend here. Especially when dealing with a player who can heat up as fast as Lillard can.

3. Hit Open Shots

For the majority of the season the Hawks have managed to hit three’s and jump shots at a high rate. When jump shots aren’t falling at a high rate, the rest of the offense grinds to a halt.

Projected Starters

Hawks

Guard – Dennis Schroder

Guard – Kent Bazemore

Forward – Taurean Prince

Forward – Ersan Ilyasova

Center – Miles Plumlee

Blazers

Guard – Damian Lillard

Guard- CJ McCollum

Forward – Evan Turner

Forward – Al Farouq Aminu

Center – Jusef Nurkic

Game Info

Tip Off: 7:30 PM ET

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Prediction: Raptors 102 Hawks 94

Next Five Games

@ PHX 1/2 9:00 PM

@ POR 1/5 10:30 PM

@ LAL 1/7 9:30 PM

@ LAC 1/8 10:30 PM

@ DEN 1/10 9:00 PM

Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil

image-5

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a writer for ATLSportsHQ please DM Phil Veasley (@_ATLPhil) on Twitter or IG. Or send a sample article to atlsportshq@gmail.com.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Phil Veasley
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil

Leave a Reply