It was bound to happen at some point, but the Atlanta Hawks finally suffered a preseason defeat on Sunday evening, falling to the Miami Heat in rather lopsided fashion. However, the Hawks will have the opportunity to leave their hometown fans with a better taste in their mouths before the regular season tips off, as Atlanta will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday for a final preseason tune-up at Philips Arena.
To this point, the Hawks remain healthy and that is the central focus as the regular season approaches beginning on Tuesday. Mike Budenholzer has been diligent in holding out various members of the rotation from action, and it would not come as a surprise if he did so again in this spot. At the same time, though. cohesion is a big part of Atlanta's attack on both ends of the floor, and Budenholzer could consider playing a more "normal" rotation in this game with the final preseason contest coming against Detroit, who always serves as the opponent in the regular season opener.
Battles for playing time at backup power forward (Mike Scott vs. Mike Muscala) and on the wing (Tim Hardaway vs. Justin Holiday) should be monitored in this spot, as the previously anticipated battle for the 15th roster spot has seemingly been diminished to "Lamar Patterson vs. no one" at this point in the preseason. Still, outside story lines aren't necessarily this team's focus as the season nears, and Budenholzer could pull the plug on anyone and everyone at any given time.
The Grizzlies only come to town once per season, and that is fun in and of itself. The next time the Atlanta Hawks take the floor at Philips Arena, the games will count, and the anticipation continues to build. Stay with us throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 21, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 FM (Local in Atlanta); NBA Audio League Pass