Preview: ATL (10-27 ) @ POR (19-18) 1/5/18 10:30 PM Moda Center, Portland, OR.
The Atlanta Hawks are coming off the most shocking loss of the season in which they led by 9 Points with under 2 Minutes to go in the game. It was the biggest comeback (% likely to win wise) according to ESPN in the entire NBA this season.
After dominating most of the first 46 minutes, the Hawks committed a comedy of errors en route to their 104-103 loss. All of the following happened in the final two minutes:
Back to Back missed Free Throws, Fouled Booker on a 3 Point Attempt, Reckless Offensive Foul by Dennis Schroder, Taurean Prince Dunk Attempt Blocked and most notably, the insane brain fart by Dennis Schroder. With time winding down and down 3 points, the Hawks inbounded the ball and had to go the length of the court. Dennis proceeded to drive all the way to the hoop and laid it up for 2 with .9 seconds remaining. Only one problem. The Hawks were still down one. The clock expired before they could even foul Phoenix. If Dennis pulled up when he got around the 3 Point Line he would of had a decent look. In addition, Prince was wide open on the opposite side and just so happens to be shooting over 40% from Three this season.
At the end of the day however, the Hawks played a great game for 46 minutes and that can not be forgotten. Credit the Suns for not laying down in dire situations.
Ersan led the losing effort with 21 while Dennis and Bazemore each had 20. Devin Booker and TJ Warren each had 30+ for the Suns. Marquese Chriss had what may have been the game saving block on Taurean Prince.
After losing in Atlanta this past Saturday, the Blazers wrapped up their East Coast road trip with a win in Chicago and 127-110 loss in Cleveland.
Lillard missed the game in Atlanta but will be good to go in this matchup. That coupled with playing in front of the fierce Moda Center crowd will make this game a bit harder to win than Saturday’s.
Portland’s 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. If you don’t defend, Lillard and/or CJ could go off for 40 on any given night.
DeWayne Dedmon- Out
Noah Vonleh- Day To Day
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. No Carryover from Tuesday
The Hawks choked hard down the stretch on Tuesday. The team can not let that carry over into this game.
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.
Guard – Dennis Schroder
Guard – Kent Bazemore
Forward – Taurean Prince
Forward – Ersan Ilyasova
Center – Miles Plumlee
Guard – Damian Lillard
Guard- CJ McCollum
Forward – Evan Turner
Forward – Al Farouq Aminu
Center – Jusef Nurkic
Tip Off: 10:30 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Prediction: Blazers 106 Hawks 93
Next Five Games
@ LAL 1/7 9:30 PM
@ LAC 1/8 10:30 PM
@ DEN 1/10 9:00 PM
Vs BKN 1/12 7:30 PM
Vs SAS 1/15 3:00 PM NBA TV