WHO: Atlanta (2-0) at New Orleans (3-0)
Injury Report: Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic are both likely to return for the Hornets.
For Entertainment Purposes Only: New Orleans -9, 195 o/u
Blogging With the Enemy: At the Hive
While You're Waiting For Tip-Off: Don't forget to stuff the ballot box.
Game of the Night in the Association? I believe non-partisans across the nation will be firing up the league pass to watch this one rather than the Worldwide Leader's offering of the Bulls and the Cavs.
The undefeated New Orleans Hornets (1st, 2nd, and 2nd in new sets of power rankings published so far this week), led by the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, host the undefeated Atlanta Hawks (8th, 9th, and 12th, respectively, in those rankings. The bloggers are a slightly more skeptical bunch.) led by the anonymous scout-proof Joe Johnson.
My main concern tonight is not Chris Paul (Why worry about a problem that lacks a plausible solution?) but the Hawks' interior defense. Does Josh Smith guard David West, whose ability to move off-the-ball will be amplified by Smith's (necessary) willingness to help defensively or does Smith guard Tyson Chandler and help off of him, leaving Chandler free to attack the offensive glass? I don't know that I have the answer to that particular conundrum.
A secondary concern: the volume of Hornets players who can take turns guarding Joe Johnson. Morris Peterson will have the task at tip-off but any number of James Posey, Rasual Butler, Devin Brown, and even the devastatingly handsome Julian Wright will be available to take their turn slowing down and wearing out the Hawks' number one option.
This isn't the most insightful thing I've ever written but it rings pretty true: It will take an extraordinary team effort in all facets of the game to beat one of the best teams in the league on their home court.