Thunder vs Hawks preview: Atlanta tries to slow down Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City

Kevin C. Cox

The Atlanta Hawks look to extend their winning streak when they take on red hot Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night at Philips Arena.

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off of three days off but if they want to extend their winning streak to a season best three games they will have to go through a red hot Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Atlanta has won two straight in impressive fashion by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 107-97 before dismantling the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-89. Much of that success is due to improved defensive play at home and a reemerging offense led by the likes of Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Kyle Korver.

They will need a big effort on both ends of the floor if they want to slow down the Thunder who have won nine of 10 and handed the Indiana Pacers their worst defeat of the season on Sunday. Oklahoma City defeated Indiana 118-94 flexing its offensive muscles behind the strong play of Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook.

Slowing Durant has always been a problem for the Hawks. He averaged more than 35 points a game in two meetings last season including 41 in a 100-92 win at Philips Arena. DeMarre Carroll will likely draw the assignment on Durant but make no mistake that slowing him down will be a team effort.

The game features yet another interesting matchup at the point between Westbrook and Atlanta's Jeff Teague. In the last five games Teague has gone against Monta Ellis, John Wall, Tony Parker, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving. After a great start he has slumped of late but Atlanta will need him to be solid at both ends against Westbrook who is averaging 21.3 points and 5.9 assists.

Atlanta comes in relatively healthy but could be without center Gustavo Ayon who suffered an ankle injury in the final moments of the win over the Cavs. Ayon did not practice on Monday and his availability for Tuesday's game will be determined sometime before tipoff.

Tuesday's game will be available on Atlanta's flagship radio station 92.9 FM "The Game" with veteran broadcaster Steve Holman on the call. It was also be broadcast on SportSouth where Phantom Cam will make its debut for a Hawks game. Phantom Cam has the ability to record video at 5,000 frames per second which enables live game action to be shown in super slow motion detail. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. from Philips Arena.

Game Info

Game date/time: Tuesday, December 10, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 FM "The Game"

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