WHO: Atlanta (21-10) at New Jersey (15-17)
Injury Report: As always, Speedy Claxton is out. For New Jersey, Keyon Dooling is questionable.
For Entertainment Purposes Only: Atlanta -4.5, 197 o/u
Paragon of maturity Vince Carter has convinced his teammates that he'll try tonight in order to prove how unjustly he was ejected from Wednesday's 83-75 loss in Detroit. Vince Carter's a gifted basketball player but anything that motivates any Net other than Devin Harris to create offense can only benefit the Hawks tonight.
Lest you've forgotten about Devin Harris...
- November 14th in New Jersey: 30 points (8-17 FGA, 2-4 3PTA, 12-12 FTA), 8 assists, 1 turnover
- November 15th in Atlanta: 33 points (9-15 FGA, 2-3 3PTA, 13-14 FTA), 10 assists, 1 turnover
The former line was part of a 115-108 Nets win. The latter line sparked a 119-107 Nets victory. I'm not sure either stat line does justice to the degree to which Harris dominated the proceedings in both games. Until I looked back at the box scores this morning I had no recollection of Joe Johnson scoring 63 points his own self over the two games. (Or Flip Murray scoring 35 points. Or Acie Law IV playing 10+ minutes both nights.)
Josh Smith didn't play in either game so the Hawks can be sadi to have that going for them in this meeting. Also engendering hope: New Jersey have lost 7 of their last 8 home games in the midst of a 4-9 stretch overall.
The Hawks are talking about winning more games on the road in 2009. A worthy goal to be sure but it should not be overlooked that going 7-8 on the road in a league where home teams have won 58.1% of the games is above average to begin with.
Further keeping with the theme of keeping things in proper perspective, Jason Walker at The Human Highlight Blog has a good look back at 2008 and a wish list for 2009.