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Preview and Game Thread #13: Houston Rockets @ Atlanta Hawks

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Atlanta Hawks 09-10 Season Game #13

Houston_rockets_2_medium

@ Atlanta-hawks_medium
7-5
10-2
Philips Arena
Nov. 20th, 2009, 7:30 PM
Sports South, Hawks Radio Network, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Aaron Brooks
PG Mike Bibby
Shane Battier SG Joe Johnson
Trevor Ariza
SF Marvin Williams
Luis Scola
PF Josh Smith
Chuck Hayes C Al Horford

Hawks Injury Report: None.

Rockets Injury Report: Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady are out. Tracy is sitting with hurt feelings too.

Blogging With the Enemy: The Dream Shake

Predicted bane of the Hawks existence: David Anderson. It would be only right.

Game Preview:

Houston is one of the surprise teams of the NBA. They are without their two best players due to injury and lost Ron Artest in the off season, yet are still beating and playing with some of the best teams in the league. But to be honest, I don't find it all that shocking. One of their stars in always hurt, check that both of their stars are always hurt and one of them has shown the team routinely plays well without him. Basically, they lost one superstar but still have the an all hustle, team oriented group left. Throw in Rick Adelman and replace Artest with Ariza, and a 7-5 record is not all that crazy. The Rockets are going to play hard every night, and Adelman has them playing a team game on offense. Combine all the factors and they can destroy the Lakers with pretty normal play and lose to the Kings the same way. Basically, you must show up against Houston and perform well, but you also do not need to worry your best is not good enough. Considering teams don't bring their best all the time, I expect the Rockets to continue play above .500 for most of the season.

Keys to the game:

  1. Make Trevor Ariza take tough shots. He is only shooting 39% this year. Keep Ariza out of the paint and force him to make jumpers with a Hawk in his face. Basically, make him earn his new contract on things that are not wide open threes and dunks.
  2. Joe Johnson not pressing. Joe is methodical. That is not a bad thing. He has great body control, an ability to create space, and superb touch around the basket. And it allows him to slow things down and work through the lane in the same way over and over again. I will assume Shane Battier not only knows this but plans to be certain spots much faster than other defenders. If Joe gets cut off from his routine, he cannot press and take bad shots or pick up offensive fouls. The Hawks are the better team with or without Joe scoring 25.
  3. Good Josh Smith. I used to watch Luis Scola and say "if only Josh played with his energy...." Well, Josh has been, and he will need to continue to do so tonight because you can bet Scola will come with his usual hustle and annoyance.

Comment of the Heat game thread with 4 recs goes to eyy. Following an odd heave by Joe Johnson,

"I thought it was a bad shot, but it was just a heat check. Thankfully."

See you in part, if not all, of tonight's thread.

Go Hawks!