The home stretch of the 2014-2015 preseason is upon us, as the Atlanta Hawks are set to face off with the Charlotte Hornets in their final appearance at Philips Arena before the curtain goes up in a "real" contest. Atlanta is coming off a disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday evening, but at the same time, there were real positives to take away from the action over the weekend.
It will be interesting to see how Mike Budenholzer deploys the rotation on Monday evening, especially in light of the increased workload for some of the regulars on Saturday. Over the weekend, our own Kris Willis highlighted the path to return of Al Horford, and as his playing time increases, it is safe to assume that the rust will be removed and Horford's productivity will vastly increase.
The remainder of the preseason could also be vital for regular season playing time, as some of the team's young players (i.e. Dennis Schröder, Mike Muscala, Adreian Payne) must continue to prove that they are game-ready to earn the trust of Budenholzer. On Monday, Muscala and Payne will battle against Charlotte's Al Jefferson, and if there is a match-up that tests the defensive acumen of any big man, that is probably the one.
Stay tuned throughout the day for updates from the arena, and in less than two weeks, there will be a meaningful contest in the same venue, as the Indiana Pacers arrive for the home opener on November 1.
Game Date/Time: Monday, October 20, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM, NBA League Pass Audio