It is Quin Snyder Day in Atlanta, as the former Atlanta Hawks assistant leads the Utah Jazz in his triumphant return to Philips Arena. In fairness, this game is likely more about the Hawks attempting to build off back-to-back victories over the New York Knicks on Saturday and Monday, but with the well-liked nature of Snyder in these parts, it seems appropriate to reference his new gig.
The Utah Jazz enter Wednesday night's game with a 3-5 record on the season, but there are real signs of life for the club under Snyder's direction. The Hawks will be contending with a Utah offense that is scoring 105.5 points per 100 possessions (a top-10 mark in the NBA), and because of the ball movement implemented by Snyder coinciding with some real talent on the Jazz roster, Coach Bud and company will have their hands full defensively.
Fortunately for the Hawks, the Jazz have very much struggled on defense this season, allowing 109.2 points per 100. Atlanta has "dipped" to second in the NBA at 24 assists per game after the two wins against New York, and frankly, the offense was woeful at times on Monday evening. However, this is a spot where the Hawks can "get healthy" on that end of the floor, and it would be encouraging if the rest of the team could simply catch up to Dennis Schröder (insert laughter here).
From a match-up standpoint, Thabo Sefolosha will likely garner the assignment of Gordon Hayward for the majority of the night, as DeMarre Carroll is listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game. It will be interesting to see how Mike Budenholzer chooses to deploy his forwards, particularly Mike Scott (who is questionable for the game) cannot go, but regardless, dealing with the aforementioned Hayward will be paramount for whoever is on the floor. Up front, the Jazz are blessed with some real size in Enes Kanter and former Georgia Tech standout Derrick Favors, but at the same time, Utah does not scare you up front, especially with both Al Horford and Paul Millsap available and ready to go.
Simply put, this is a spot where the Hawks need to handle business. Utah is a team on the rise, but there is no reason to believe that Atlanta should "struggle" against this young Jazz team in the friendly confines of Philips Arena. The returns without DeMarre Carroll last season aren't exactly encouraging, but at the same time, nothing short of a comfortable home win would be pleasing against what is perceived to be an inferior opponent.
Stay tuned throughout the day for updates from Philips Arena, as the Hawks aim to eclipse the .500 mark for the first time during the 2014-2015 season.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM