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Preview and Game Thread #1: Indiana Pacer @ Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks 09-10 Season Game #1


@ Atlanta-hawks_medium
Philips Arena
October 28th, 2009, 7:00 PM
Sports South, Hawks Radio Network, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
T.J. Ford
PG Mike Bibby
Dahntay Jones SG Joe Johnson
Danny Granger
SF Mo Evans
Troy Murphy PF Josh Smith
Roy Hibbert C Al Horford

Hawks Injury Report: Al Horford, Jason Collins, and Mo Evans tweaked ankles should be untweaked by game time.

Pacers Injury Report: Mike Dunleavy, Travis Diener, and Tyler Hansbrough are out. Jeff Foster is questionable. Danny Granger is a game time decision.

Blogging With the Enemy: Indy Cornrows, Eight Points, Nine Seconds (who has an excellent interview with Sekou Smith that I am moderately jealous of).
Predicted bane of the Hawks existence: Troy Murphy. The Hawks hate big men who can shoot threes. And by hate I mean are totally fine getting owned by them.

Game Preview:

The NBA season is upon us. Welcome.

First up, our friends from Indiana. The Pacers are a team that should be respected. One that can beat you on any given night. Few people deny Danny Granger's excellence but check out Troy Murphy's numbers from last year. They are not underrated good. They are just good. Rumors of an emerging Roy Hibbert and the addition of dirty aggressive Dahntay Jones add to team overall. The Pacers can beat the Hawks. Easily. They just shouldn't.

Not opening night, not at home, not without a healthy Granger or Dunleavy. Not ever. And the Hawks need to play like that is the case. Statement games start now. So time for the Hawks to start making a few. Considering the last one the team made was concerning the fact that they did not deserve to be on the floor with the Cleveland Cavaliers, I think starting early with a few new ones would be fine by everyone.

The Hawks should win this game. Will this be the season that "shoulds" become foregone conclusions or are we in for another year where "shoulds" are simply catalyst for frustration? Tonight we begin to find. Tonight the teams starts undoing previews and destroying projections. Tonight the story begins, and it is in the players hands. From my seat in section 208, I am excited to help start reading along.

Keys to the Game

  1. Get the Pacers frontcourt in foul trouble. Solomon Jones and Roy Hibbert are usually happy to oblige. And with a shallow bench, this becomes the easiest weakness to hit. But yes, Woody, that means Al Horford needs offensive plays run through him. Or we need to start Joe Smith and have him take three first half charges.
  2. Help defense on TJ Ford. Mike Bibby runs like a one year old when you put him next to Ford. Bibby is going to have a hard time watching Ford let alone guarding him.
  3. Josh Smith going off. Put your pessimistic view of Josh Smith's post game forward, now still name someone on the Pacers who can guard him?

Remember comment of the game thread contest (see rules and prize in link) officially starts tonight. Comment early, recommend other posts often, and let this be a spot where we celebrate the return of NBA basketball, try and figure any nickname that could replace "Hot Flip," cry over Woodson's first two foul first half substitution, and rejoice at what should be the best team the Hawks have put forward in years.

Go Hawks!