The Atlanta Hawks turned in one of their best efforts since the calendar changed to 2013 Wednesday night when they dealt the Memphis Grizzlies a 103-92 loss. The Hawks hope to carry some of those good feelings over into Friday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets.
Atlanta went on the attack on Wednesday led by Jeff Teague who finished with 22 points and 13 assists against the Grizzlies. Teague's penetration helped set up his teammates from the perimeter where the Hawks connected on 10-24 shots. Atlanta will once again need to attack the paint against a New Orleans team that is one of the worst in the league and defending close to the basket.
New Orleans is allowing opponents to score 43.5 points per game in the paint which puts them among the league's worst. They gave up 42 in Wednesday's win over the Phoenix Suns but saw that number swell to 62 and 58 in recent losses to Denver and Minnesota. Its important for the Hawks, who can sometimes fall in love with the perimeter shot, to get out and run and attack the paint early on Friday.
After a rough start tot he season, the Hornets have played much better going 11-11 since Christmas and have finally gotten healthy. Eric Gordon is 16.4 points per game after missing the early part of the season with a knee injury. Greivis Vasquez is third in the NBA in assists at 9.4 per game and rookie Anthony Davis is only getting better.
The Hawks won the earlier matchup in New Orleans 95-86 on New Year's Day and can sweep the season series. Josh smith had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the earlier matchup.
While the Hornets enter the game relatively healthy, Hawks' center Zaza Pachulia is listed as questionable with a sore Achilles. Pachulia has missed the last four games with the injury and will likely have his status determined sometime after the team's shootaround.
Hawks' sharpshooter Kyle Korver tied Mookie Blaylock's franchise record for consecutive games with a made three at 42 games on Wednesday. He can break the record Friday night against the Hornets.
Game Date/Time: Friday, February 8, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 The Fan and 93.7 FM
Online Streaming: NBA League Pass Broadband