The ball is rolling downhill for the Atlanta Hawks right now, and in the best possible way. The team has won eight consecutive games after a cruise-control victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, and now, the Hawks face off with the Orlando Magic for a home-and-home, back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday. The first leg will be held at Philips Arena.
Orlando has been somewhat surprising this season, amassing a 9-15 record that is good for 9th place in the Eastern Conference at the time of this post. Obviously, that isn't electric by any means, but the Magic are in the midst of a rebuild after adding two lottery picks, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, in the 2014 NBA Draft, and Orlando is already playing better than many expected.
Still, this is a spot where Atlanta is clearly the better team, and after a "day off" on Thursday, the Hawks should be reasonably rested for the first of the two games. It will be interesting to see how Mike Budenholzer elects to match up with the Magic in the backcourt, given their talent with the aforementioned Payton and 2013 lottery pick Victor Oladipo, but up front, Orlando relies heavily on Nikola Vucevic(should he be available), who will be matched up against Al Horford for the majority of the night.
The Hawks are certainly considered to be the "favorite" in the first leg of a back-to-back (especially when considering that the team now ranks in the top eight in both offense and defense) , but Atlanta must perform well in order to extend their lengthy winning streak to nine games. Stay tuned throughout the day for updates, and keep it locked to Peachtree Hoops for continuing coverage of the Atlanta Hawks throughout the 2014-2015 season.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, December 10, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 The Game