Team Records: Portland (32-14) at Atlanta (34-8)
Game Info: 4:30 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Atlanta -7
Refs: Tom Washington, Kevin Culter, Kane Fitzgerald
The Skinny: After Kyrie Irving pretty much singlehandily beat Portland on Wednesday, Lillard looks to take out his frustration at both that and an all-star snub Friday against the league-best Hawks. Dame always seems to play his best when people doubt him and the Blazers will need him to do so in order to win. Atlanta has won 17 games in a row and hasn’t lost in over a month.
Last Time They Met: The Hawks tore the Blazers to pieces as they won 115-107 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close. Portland leads the Hawks 53-52 all-time..
Projected Hawks Lineup:
PF-Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech-9th Season)-17.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.2 APG.
SF-DeMarre Carroll (Missouri-6th Season)-11.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 APG.
C-Al Horford (Florida-8th Season)-15.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.3 APG
SG-Kyle Korver (Creighton-12th Season)-13 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.9 APG.
PG-Jeff Teague (Wake Forest-6th Season)-17 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 7.5 APG.
Player to Watch-Kyle Korver (Pictured at right)-Korver makes no bones about what he does. He’s really good at shooting 3 pointers and he does that extremely well. Yet that is not the sum total of Korver’s game. He’s a better defender than most give him credit for, important to Atlanta’s success. While he never drives, he also almost never makes mistakes and turns the ball over in bad situations. He’s not a star but if you shoot 53.4% from 3 (as Korver has this year), on as many attempts as he takes, you can kind of live with that and Atlanta happily does.
Did You Know?: Atlanta’s 17 game win streak is tied for the 11th longest in NBA history.
Song of the Day: “When I Come Around” by Green Day-When the NBA comes around, they will find Dame has gone nuclear on them and kicked their ass. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-C Robin Lopez (Hand), PF/C Joel Freeland (Shoulder)
Atlanta: Out-PG Shelvin Mack (Calf)
Re-Evaluating Atlanta: They For Real?
This is probably a foolish question because when you win 17 in a row and 31 of your last 33, hell yes you are for real. When you post the second highest point differential in the NBA, you are certainly for real. When you’re in the top of the league in both offense and defense, yeah stop it already, Atlanta is for real. Not much was expected from this team this year but behind a Pop disciple as head coach, the Hawks truly are more than the sum of their parts. Time will tell if this team can really win it all or if the city of Atlanta will actually show up to their games but if they don’t they’re missing out on a fun story. The Hawks are for real and they are very dangerous.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make Atlanta try to beat them 1 on 1. The Hawks thrive best when they are able to pass to open shooters. If the Blazers deny those passes and make them play iso ball, they should win.
Atlanta wins if: They outshoot Portland from deep. Korver loves to shoot 3s and he’s really good at it. If he and the Hawks can hit more 3s than Portland, they should prevail.