Preview: Hawks @ Hornets

Preview: (ATL 14-33) @ CHA (19-27) 1/26/18 7 PM Spectrum Center Charlotte, NC. 

Atlanta Hawks v Memphis Grizzlies
John Collins (D Murphy/Getty Images)

Atlanta heads up I-85 to face the disappointing Charlotte Hornets. 

If you would have told me that only 5 wins would separate the Hawks and the Hornets more than halfway through the season, I would’ve called you crazy. But here we are, the Hornets are currently sitting 8 games under .500 with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA.

The lack of consistency has caused the Hornets to listen to offers for their franchise star Kemba Walker. Though Michael Jordan points out that they “are not looking to trade him”. Charlotte is also rumored to be trying to move Dwight Howard among other role players.

As for our Hawks, they are coming off a 108-93 thrashing to the claws of the Toronto Raptors. Despite the 15 point final, this game was out of hand well before the 4th quarter. Atlanta struggled to get anything going on the offensive end and were clearly frustrated the whole night. So much so, that PG Malcolm Delaney took to Twitter to apologize on behalf of the team after the game.

By the end of the 1st quarter, the Raptors were already ahead double digits (28-16). It would get worse from there as they would extend the lead to 18 at the half. While Dennis had 13 Points at the half, he was clearly frustrated by Toronto’s bigs. There were several possessions where he was unable to drive to the basket as he usually would.

Things would continue to go Toronto’s way in the 2nd half as they led by as many as 32 before letting their foots off the gas in garbage time.

What may be more disappointing for Atlanta however, is the fact that Lowry and Derozan combined for only 25 Points on 7-22 Shooting. Often times if those two perform that poorly you’d think that would spell disaster for the Raptors. Fred VanVleet actually led the way off the bench with 19 Points, 7 Rebounds, as well as 5 Assists. Big man Jonas Valanciunas was huge down low with 16 Points, 13 Rebounds, 3 Blocks as well as providing stifling defense.

Here’s our writer Elijah with the postgame video recap.

Not much stood out stat wise for the Hawks. Dennis Schroder put up 20 Points and 8 Assists but was a +/- of -18. John Collins had an impressive stat line of 13 Points, 16 Rebounds, 4 Blocks and a +/- of +15 in 26 Minutes but was just 5-13 Shooting due to that aforementioned Toronto defense. Isaiah Taylor was a +18 in just 11 minutes of garbage time. As a team the Shooting Percentage (39.4), 3 Pointers made (7), Assists (19 on 37 made shots), and Attendance (12,780) were all disappointing.

Wednesday Night, Charlotte lost 101-96 in a back and forth tilt with the Pelicans. Dwight Howard had a dominate night with 22 Points, 16 Rebounds and 3 Blocks while Kemba added 20 Points, 5 Rebounds and 7 Assists. The Hornets have been wildly inconsistent all season. They can even have wild swings in games. Versus the Pelicans they were down double digits early but erased that deficit before halftime. Way back in October against the Hawks, Charlotte was down 20 in the 2nd quarter and ended up having a 20 Point lead in the 4th largely behind a 24-0 run.

As for that game in October, Dwight Howard got some revenge with a 20 Point, 15 Rebound game as well as some ferocious dunks. Look for him to once again be amped up as he faces his hometown and former team. Dennis led the way with 25 but nobody else was able to get much going in the 108-91 loss. Dwight is having a better season (on paper) than last year, averaging nearly 16 PPG to go along with 13 RPG.

To the dismay of many Hawks fans, it appears that Coach Bud intends to keep Miles Plumlee in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future as confirmed here by Peachtree Hoop’s Brad Rowland. Despite John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon clearly being better options, Bud likes what Plumlee brings.

 

schrodergoat
Dennis and Bud (Hawks.com)

Key Matchup

Kemba vs Dennis

Kemba and Dennis are two high scoring Point Guards who will both have an extra chip on their shoulders Friday Evening. Dennis is coming off a game where he was visibly frustrated throughout the night. As for Kemba, he was very upset after finding out his name was in trade talks last week. Also both of these players are the leaders of their respective teams. Look for a big game from both.

 Injury Report

Hawks

DeAndre’ Bembry: Out

Hornets

Cody Zeller: Out

Three Keys to the Game

1. Get Dwight Howard in Foul Trouble

Dwight Howard killed the Hawks back in October. It is important to draw an early foul against him.

2. Play with Confidence

Wednesday vs Toronto, Atlanta started off cold and were not able to recover. They let this get to them and started to press and commit mistakes they don’t normally make.

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

Hornets

Guard- Kemba Walker

Guard- Nicolas Batum

Forward- Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist

Forward- Marvin Williams

Center- Dwight Howard

Game Info

Tip Off: 7 PM ET

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Prediction: Hawks 109 Hornets 107

Next Three Games

Sat 1/27 Vs Washington 1/29 7:30 PM

Mon 1/29 Vs Minnesota 7:30 PM

Wed 1/31 Vs Charlotte 7:30 PM

 

Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil

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

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