WHO: Atlanta (5-0) at Chicago (3-4)
For Entertainment Purposes Only: Chicago -3.5, 187.5 o/u
Blogging With the Enemy: Blog a Bull
As John Hollinger pointed out yesterday, the Hawks are facing a busy, road-heavy stretch of the schedule without their best defensive player. Smith may not be missed to a significant degree tonight as the Bulls (in my limited observation) again seem unable or unwilling to score on the interior. Without a big guard capable of posting up Mike Bibby, the Hawks should be fine with Joe Johnson playing sagging man-to-man defense to keep Derrick Rose in front of him. On what could well be a first-team-to-80-wins night it's imperative that the Hawks control the defensive glass.
- Sam Smith has a good quote from Rick Sund on the subject of Josh Smith's unique abilities:
"The loss of Smith hurts. Up until he got hurt, we were in real good shape. Realistically, we've been one of the teams fighting for the eighth spot and looking now to get up higher. With Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, that's a really good one-two punch. With Josh, the whole focus of camp has been for him to be our guy on defense to get the club to be what it can be and he's played great. It's been a credit to him for always taking the best player. My big thing with Josh has been, 'You've got a unique ability few have.' He's somewhere between a Scottie Pippen and Ben Wallace. He blocks shots and boards like Ben and does all those rangy things with length and quickness and athleticism like Scottie."
Smith also knows how the Bulls can beat the Hawks:
They started Zaza Pachulia for Smith Sunday—and you only hope they will again-- though didn't play Pachulia much since he usually picks up a few fouls before leaving the locker room.
I like the Don Nelson gambit and would put Ben Gordon on Pachulia, in effect, daring him to score, so then I could put someone taller on Joe Johnson and at least bother him some.
- Erin Jacobsen has a longer interview with Sund in The Elgin Courier News.
- Micah Hart has Lang Whitaker on the podcast this week as well as links to five different sets of power rankings which include the Hawks in the Top 5.
- Lang Whitaker's new column on the official site: Yes We Can!
- Playoffs Hawks pays tribute to the 5-0 start.
- Drew promises a live blog of tonight's game at Zaza's Playground.
I'll be here writing the first draft of the game recap in the comments. See you at tip-off.