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Rockets Vs. Hawks Game Thread: Atlanta takes on Houston in Season & Home Opener

The Atlanta Hawks officially begin their season tonight in Philips Arena, as they face a new look Houston Rockets team that includes newly acquired players, James Harden and Jeremy Lin.

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

2012/2013 NBA Regular Season Game #1, Home Game #1
Friday, November 02, 2012
Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
7:30 p.m. ET
SportSouth HD, 680 The Fan (93.7 FM)
Probable Starters
Jeremy Lin PG Jeff Teague
James Harden SG Devin Harris
Chandler Parsons SF Kyle Korver
Patrick Patterson PF Josh Smith
Omer Asik C Al Horford

Hawks Injury Report: Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia both sat out the final two preseason games nursing their left ankle injury, but they are both expected to play in tonight's season opener. Johan Petro meanwhile is listed as "out" as he is still suffering with a sore lower back.

Rockets Injury Report: Patrick Patterson, who missed his team's last two preseason games and their first regular season game with a strained left quad, is expected to return to the starting lineup tonight. Greg Smith should also be good to go despite having to check out early from Wednesday's game against the Pistons when he strained his left foot.

Hawks Player(s) to watch: There are many players and story angles to choose from. Will "Insani-Teague" have a better outing than "Lin-sanity"? How will the newly acquired players (Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow etc.) do in their debut regular season game? Will Al Horford be more featured in the offense? Will Deshawn Stevenson play a part in the attempt of slowing down James Harden? There are many stories and questions that are still up in the air, but the one player we have to especially spotlight tonight is Josh Smith. All eyes will be on him as he plays his first official game as the team's "#1 guy". He'll be looked at to carry a pretty big load offensively while also being the anchor of the defense. The "J-Smoove: Team MVP" era starts tonight.

Rockets Player(s) to watch: It will be a crime to not say James Harden here. The newly acquired player had one of the best debuts in a while, as he recorded 37 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block in his first game in a Rockets uniform. The focus on defense will be trying to contain him. The Rockets showed on Wednesday's game vs the Pistons that they like to utilize the pick-and-roll to free up space for their guards. As we saw how greatly it benefited James Harden, I'm sure the Rockets will stick to a similar game-plan once again.

Additional SB Nation Coverage: SB Nation Atlanta, The Dream Shake