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Preview and Game Thread #8: Atlanta Hawks vs Orlando Magic

Atlanta Hawks 10-11 Season Game #8



6-1 4-1
Amway Center
November 8, 2010, 7:00 PM
Sports South, 99X FM, Pre and Post Game Show 680 The Fan, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Mike Bibby PG Chris Duhon
Joe Johnson SG Vince Carter
Josh Smith SF Quentin Richardson
Al Horford PF Rashard Lewis
Jason Collins C Dwight Howard

Hawks Injury Report: Marvin Williams (knee) is day to day, Mo Evans (knee), Pape Sy (back) are out

Magic Injury Report: Jameer Nelson (ankle) is out, Vince Carter (hip flexor) will play

SB Nation Magic Blog: Orlando Pinstriped Post

Game Preview

The Hawks come into tonight's game with thoughts of exorcising some demons that have plagued them recently against the Magic. Josh Smith on tonight's matchup:

"We’ve just got to get a win," Smoove said. "They have definitely had our number the last few times we have played them. Even the game we won we had to have a tip-in dunk. We just have to go out there and match their intensity. They play with a certain type of toughness, especially on the defensive end. I want to see where we are as a team with toughness."

While the X's and O's matter a lot tonight in dealing with Dwight Howard and the plethora of shooters that surround him, this game is more about the Hawks and their heads. So many times over the last two seasons, the Magic haven't just beaten the Hawks but they have pounded them into submission. The Hawks proved yesterday that they could get down 18 points and keep fighting. Tonight it is up to them to prove to themselves that they belong on the court with the Magic.

The Magic come in at 4-1 having most recently defeated the Charlotte Bobcats. They could be without the services of point guard Jameer Nelson who is nursing an ankle injury and Vince Carter who has a sore hip. Both are listed as day to day and appear at this point to be game time decisions.

In Hawks injury news Marvin Williams is still day to day but is realistically probably atleast a week away. I asked coach Drew if there was a time table for Mo Evans and he said that there wasn't yet. Drew added that they would want Evans to go through a full contact practice before he returned.

Keys to the Game

It is almost redundant to mention these, but they are all magnified against a team like the Magic. The Hawks will have to limit turnovers while playing strong on the boards. They will to commit themselves to defense tonight and their rotations will have to be a lot better than they were yesterday against the Suns. Will be interesting to see how coach Drew chooses to play Dwight Howard and whether or not the Hawks double him. Many times in the past doubling Dwight had killed the Hawks because of the Magic's perimeter shooters. It could be a better bet to let Howard get his and try and shut down everyone else.

Offensively I want to see if the Hawks can cause any problems against the Magic with the motion offense. If Al Horford can have another strong night shooting the ball from 17-18 feet it could pull Dwight Howard away from the basket and perhaps open up room for someone else. The Magic will come at the Hawks in waves tonight and it is key for the Hawks to take the fight back to them.