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Preview and Game Thread #4: Atlanta Hawks @ Portland Trail Blazers

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Atlanta Hawks 09-10 Season Game #4

Atlanta-hawks_medium
@ Portland_medium

2-1
2-2
Rose Garden
Nov. 3rd, 2009, 10:00 PM
Fox Sports South, Hawks Radio Network, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Steve Blake
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: LaMarcus Aldridge has been upgraded to probable. Nicolas Batum, Patty Mills, and Jeff Pendergraph are out.

Blogging With the Enemy: Blazers Edge

Predicted bane of the Hawks existence: Greg Oden

Game Preview:

First, welcome all Blazers fans. I do love me some Hawks blogosphere, but there is nothing like Blazers on the web. They are a force among forces. They are there own little city of people. Basically, they make me jealous, and they travel interwebs in droves. So welcome, all outsider insights on our team are welcome. Especially if they are put nicely.

Two years ago, this game was at least top 3 most crushing losses of the season. Last year, it was just another loss. The Rose Garden is a tough place to play, but at minimum, we should expect a decent response after Joe's vague tongue lashing and the mirad of turnovers in the Lakers game. The last few years these have been good games, and most both sides have had a chance to win. So Hawks fans can demand a split in the season series and hope for a sweep.The fact remains though at some point the Hawks have to start winning games on the road that fans hope they win or else they will continue to be a mediocre road team. This early in the season though, I am good with hoping.

And along those lines, four keys to the game. Two of hope. Two of strategy.

1. Jamal Crawford goes off. Hometown (or the best he will do) game. Has been quiet so maybe a breakout is looming, and no Blazer particular matches up well to defend him unless Rudy Fernandez is a much better defender than I am giving him credit for.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge's jumper is off....

3. ....Because the Hawks cannot use the size disadvantage as an excuse. They must attack the glass as a team and not allow second chance opportunities. The Blazers are far too effective in the half court for that. And if Josh Smith has to move way outside to guard Aldridge, rebounding could be a serious issue.

4. Quick pace. And I will say this on working to get the Blazers bigs in foul trouble. I have read where that has been an issue for them, and I believe Horford's quickness is an advantage. I just think the best strategy is use that quickness in the pass more than set up a slower half court and hope that quickness causes fouls. Because if there are not fouls, the Hawks are kind out of options.

And in case you wondering, from here on out, good Josh Smith showing up is always a key to the game.

See you in the comments.

Go Hawks!