Atlanta just completed a perfect three-game western road trip with wins over the Jazz, Trail Blazers and Clippers. The Hawks have won five straight and 19 of their last 21 to surge to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They have done so in impressive fashion winning eight straight against the Western Conference while amassing a 9-2 record overall.
The Hawks have passed every test put before them through this early stretch but the Grizzlies will present a difficult challenge as Atlanta tries to limit Memphis' opportunities in the paint while trying to slow down the likes of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.
The Grizzlies also enjoyed an early run at the top of the NBA standings. They currently sit at 25-9 and in third place in the Western Conference. They have gone 5-5 over their last 10 and have been without Zach Randolph for the last eight games due to a knee injury.
Randolph is slated to take part in some contact portions of Wednesday's shootaround but Memphis coach Dave Joerger wouldn't commit on whether he would return against Atlanta. The Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery tweeted on Monday that Randolph was still walking with a bit of a limp and that he had been told by Memphis ownership not to rush back.
The Hawks will have to deal with Marc Gasol who is having one of the best season's of his career along with the Grizzlies' stingy defense. Memphis and Atlanta are tied for fifth in the league in opponents points per game allowing 97.6. Atlanta has a much more explosive offense but will have to be sharp in their execution against an opportunistic and well coached Memphis team.
The game will also feature a spectacular matchup at the point guard position between Conley and Atlanta's Jeff Teague. Conley is having a spectacular season averaging over 18 points a game to go along with six assists per contest. Teague has also taken his game to another level in his second season under Mike Budenholzer and is averaging a career-best 17.4 points and 7.4 assists. Teague has been instrumental during Atlanta's win streak averaging 23.2 points and 8.2 assists over the last five games.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, January 7, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM