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Preview and Game Thread #11: Portland Trail Blazers @ Atlanta Hawks

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Atlanta Hawks 09-10 Season Game #11

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@ Atlanta-hawks_medium
8-3
8-2
Philips Arena
Nov. 16th, 2009, 7:00 PM
Fox Sports South, Hawks Radio Network, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Andre Miller
PG Mike Bibby
Brandon Roy SG Joe Johnson
Martell Webster
SF Marvin Williams
LaMarcus Aldridge
PF Josh Smith
Greg Oden C Al Horford

Hawks Injury Report: None.

Blazers Injury Report:Travis Outlaw, Patty Mills, Nicolas Batum, and Jeff Pendergraph are out.

Blogging With the Enemy: Blazers Edge

Predicted bane of the Hawks existence: Brandon Roy, but I really wanted to say Greg Oden. Like real bad.

Game Preview:

The Hawks are a fragile bunch. Or at least us fans are. We have never been on the top shelf. Sure we know what the floor feels like but those falls came from pretty low levels. The Hawks are not there yet, but if they keep winning, other teams will look at them as a statement game, and that takes a different attitude and approach of which the Hawks have never need know anything about until now.

I am not worried about the Hawks losing the top spot in some pointless (if entertaining) power rankings. I know they will anyway, but showing up for games as the favorite is scary. It can mess with a team's psyche for good or for bad. Here is to hoping the Hawks just say "screw it, lets be special" and keep the focus for the week to come.

Almost two weeks ago, I called the Portland game a winnable one but not expected. Tonight, a victory is expected. Expectations are different from guarantees, but at home, full of confidence, and rested, the Hawks should beat anyone. Against a very good and increasingly confident Blazers' team, Atlanta will need to stay focused, set the tone, and play solid defense for a full 48 minutes. So basically, the Hawks need to do what they have done all season. An 8-2 record does not hand you victories, it just shows you how to get them.

Keys to the game:

  1. Not get killed on the boards. The Hawks actually out rebounded the Blazers by ten last game. I hope that is not what it takes to win every time because the Hawks don't have the horses for it, but a competitive showing should do the trick.
  2. Jamal Crawford and Marvin Williams driving the ball. Those two guy can beat their man off the dribble, draw fouls, and create opening for cutting players.
  3. Paraphrasing Joe Johnson, no one likes to be embarrassed. Joe does not need to go blow for blow with Brandon Roy. In fact, a Joe/Roy slug fest would be less than advantageous for the Hawks, but if we can look back on this game and say Joe held his own against Roy without needing to dominate the shots, the Hawks should have the fire power to win.
  4. Home crowd, energy, push the pace, bring out good Josh, etc, etc.

Comment of the Hornets game thread from Erihury:

"Bibby is playing like his job is on the line."

Go Hawks!