Team Records: Atlanta (26-32) at Portland (41-19)
Game Info: 7:30 PM-TV on ESPN/CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
ESPN Announcers: Mark Jones and Jon Barry
Vegas Line: Portland -8.5
Refs: Marc Davis, Tony Brown, James Williams
The Skinny: Let’s never speak of what happened Monday again okay? Okay now that we’ve got that settled, Portland closes out a long homestand against the only team they have yet to face this year, the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta is currently sitting eighth in the eastern conference, three games ahead of Detroit for the final playoff spot and the right to get swept by the Pacers or Heat. The Hawks have lost 11 of their last 12, with their only win in that stretch coming over the Knicks.
Last Season: Portland and Atlanta split the season series with both winning on the road.
Projected Hawks Lineup:
PF-Mike Scott (Virginia-2nd Season)-9.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1 APG.
SF-DeMarre Carroll (Missouri-5th Season)-10.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 APG.
C-Elton Brand (Duke-15th Season)-5.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, .7 APG
SG-Kyle Korver (Creighton-11th Season)-12.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.9 APG.
PG-Jeff Teague (Wake Forest-5th Season)-16.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 7 APG.
Player to Watch-Jeff Teague (Pictured at right)-Jeff Teague is a spectacular player, spectacularly good at times but also spectacularly bad, seemingly as likely to put down a crazy shot as he is to turn the ball over in an amazingly stupid way. Yet for all that he has developed into a very nice point guard. Teague is a very good passer and does a good job running the offense. Sure he turns the ball over too much but he can play decent defense and at least provide something good for a Hawks team that has been average at best.
Did You Know?: Kyle Korver has made a three in 127 consecutive games, the longest such streak in NBA history. The old record was 89 and was set by Dana Barros.
Song of the Day: “Welcome to Atlanta” by Ludacris and Jermaine Dupris-One of Atlanta’s signature songs. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-PF/C Joel Freeland (Knee), PF Thomas Robinson (Patella Tendon), Probable-PG Damian Lillard (Illness)
Atlanta: Out-C Al Horford (Pectoral Muscle), SG John Jenkins (Back), PF Gustavo Ayon (Shoulder), Questionable-PF Paul Millsap (Knee), C Pero Antic (Ankle)
If you were to look at the Hawks this year the only word to describe them is simply “average.” The Hawks are literally in the middle of the pack in in most things, neither particularly good nor particularly bad. Their team is refreshingly average as well, with no real stars but plenty of decent talent. They have been decimated by injuries (most notably Horford’s) and the cracks have finally started to show as of late with their recent skid. Yet, they are solid, solid enough at least to make the playoffs, and then probably get soundly trounced by the Pacers or Heat. Still, that’s something at least for a Hawks team that has n’t exactly had an easy ride as of late.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They play their game. This is a Hawks team that has struggled mightily as of late. If the Blazers are ready to go, they win.
Atlanta wins if: They hold Portland under 100. The Hawks need to play well on defense to have a chance . If they can do so, they might be able to get a win.