Despite a bit of a lackluster performance on Friday evening against the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks managed to keep the positive momentum going with a ninth straight victory. With less than 24 hours to recover and travel, the team will be back in action on Saturday night, but in an always interesting twist, Atlanta will once again face off with Orlando, with the second leg of a back-to-back taking place in the Amway Center.
With Pero Antic out of the lineup with flu-like symptoms, the Hawks a combined 40 points and 15 rebounds from Paul Millsap and Al Horford on Friday, but with no assurance of Antic's return for Saturday's game, we could once again see quality minutes from Elton Brand. In fairness, Orlando was without its best big man, Nikola Vucevic, for the sixth straight game on Friday, but there is a bit of buzz surrounding his health improving (and he will now officially play in the game), and the Magic could have an injection of life if he is able to give it a go at home.
Neither team played particularly well on Friday, with both shooting less than 40% from the floor, but the Hawks are the better team top to bottom, and that was evident during their late push to victory. Normally, a back-to-back spot that includes travel would be a significant hindrance for the Hawks, but given that the two teams are enduring the same trails, there is no inherent disadvantage.
What does that mean? Well, the Atlanta Hawks have a chance to reach double-figures in consecutive wins here, and that would be quite intriguing. Orlando is fully capable of rising up to break that string of victories, but it is likely safe to assume that the Hawks will perform better offensively in game number two, and if they can play a "B" game on the road, there will be every opportunity to emerge victorious. Stay tuned.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, December 13, 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Radio: 92.9 The Game