The Atlanta Hawks, unsurprisingly, will not finish the preseason with a blemish-less mark on the heels of their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, but they will continue the slate with a trip to Miami to take on the Heat on Tuesday evening.
Above all else, the preseason has been a time for evaluating the young talent thus far, and both John Jenkins and Mike Muscala have been impressive in their time on the court. Some people (including myself) had Jenkins potentially battling for his NBA life this preseason, but he has been a standout in the first two games, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep the momentum going here. In the case of Muscala, the young big man garnered a start in Memphis, and if Al Horford is unavailable for Tuesday's game (no details available to this point), that could certainly repeat itself here.
The Hawks have been without the aforementioned Horford, as well as both Kent Bazemore and Pero Antic, during both preseason games to this point, and we will certainly monitor their availability toward tonight's game. Elton Brand was also absent against Memphis, but that appears to be nothing more than good, old-fashioned veteran maintenance.
Personally, it would be nice to see the Hawks lean heavily on the young guys in this match-up, although there is unquestionably something intriguing about watching the likes of Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap do battle against Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng in a world that does not include LeBron James. At any rate, Atlanta should continue to integrate the new pieces, i.e. Thabo Sefolosha and Adreian Payne, into the mix, and cohesion is the name of the game under Mike Budenholzer's tutelage, especially on the offensive end.
In terms of a "player to watch" in this match-up, Dennis Schröder fits the bill. The second-year point guard was much better against the Grizzlies (14 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover) than he was in the opener against New Orleans (6 turnovers, 5 fouls, 2-7 FG), and against the Heat, there is no opposition that would theoretically prevent Dennis from continuing his improvement.
The Atlanta Hawks continue to progress toward opening night, and Tuesday's battle represents the first tilt of the preseason against a division rival. Stay tuned throughout the night for the latest on the proceedings.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, October 13, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: American Airlines Arena, Memphis, Tennessee
TV: No Local Broadcast, Sun Sports Florida, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 the Game, NBA League Pass Audio