The Hawks return home to Phillips Arena for their first meeting with the Orlando Magic since last season's sweep during the playoffs. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
7:00 PM - Phillips Arena
TV - NBATV
The Orlando Magic roll into Phillips Arena tonight with a perfect 5-0 pre-season record having just destroyed the Chicago Bulls 105-67. Clearly the Magic are ready for the season to start. No doubt this will be a challenge for the Hawks as it has been over the course of the last two seasons.
The Hawks come into the game having just defeated the New Orleans Hornets and are slowly getting healthy as the regular season approaches. The nagging injuries that have took place have cost the Hawks some valuable development time and they are trying to play catch up now. Tonight's game against the Magic will give coach Drew the opportunity to perhaps deploy his bigger lineup at Magic center Dwight Howard. Also worth watching will be how the Hawks try and defend Howard.
Also of concern for the Hawks has been their transition defense and that is key against an Orlando Magic team that many times likes to run only to set up the three point shot around the perimeter. The Hawks will have to get back on defense and than rotate out to the shooters.
This game will be a huge challenge for the Hawks but it is a good challenge. You would like to see the Hawks further along in preparing for the season but injuries have kept that from happening. The Magic like to make statements during the pre-season as their 135-81 victory over New Orleans and blow out victory over the Bulls suggest. Hawks fans can think back to last season's 123-86 loss to the Magic to close the pre-season that was a sure sign of things to come.