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Preview and Game Thread #47: Atlanta Hawks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Atlanta Hawks 09-10 Season Game #47

@ Thunderlogo_medium

Ford Center
Feb. 2nd, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sports South, Hawks Radio Network, NBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Mike Bibby PG Russel Westbrook
Joe Johnson SG Thabo Sefolosha
Marvin Williams SF Kevin Durant
Josh Smith PF Jeff Green
Al Horford C Nenad Krstic

Hawks Injury Report: None

Thunder Injury Report: Kyle Weaver and DJ White are out.

Blogging With the Enemy: Welcome to Loud City

Predicted bane of the Hawks existence: Durant, but only because he is unguardable.

Game Preview:

The Hawks' loss on MLK day to the Thunder was the peak of frustration for no offensive set, jump shots (or it was for me). Bibby, Crawford, and Joe took 47 of the 90 shots when it appeared Josh Smith and Al Horford were going to score efficiently all day. In the fourth quarter, Atlanta tightened down defensively, but instead of running plays, they hoisted up semi-open three pointers despite the fact they kept missing them. I distinctly remember my thighs burning from rapidly standing and frustratingly sitting over and over again.

The good news is the Hawks had a chance to look at the film. They should see that pick and roll was working (it helped that Bibby was 5-10). They have to know that the inside is where to attack. The Thunder are too good at rebounding and the Hawks have too big an advantage in the interior to hoist jump shots all day.

Durant is certainly going to get his, but it would go a long way if 14 of those points, don't come at the free throw line. I don't expect Krystic to go 7 for 11, but I can down right guarantee this will now be a road game for the Hawks. And on that note, Atlanta has shown they are getting better at winning away from Philips, but they are far from experts. If it takes winning against middle of the pack playoff teams to make the step to beating front of the pack teams so be it, but the steps need to come because I don't see the Hawks securing home court beyond the first round.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Play good, smart defense on Durant. Put more narrowly, don't let Mario West guard him beyond the three point line.
  2. Pick and rolls, inside out play.
  3. Rebound. The Hawks kept it close because they hit the boards well last time against the Thunder. Smarter play and similar effort should lead to better results.

Go Hawks! (Internet is down at my house so don't expect a recap until morning).