Things went quite well for the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday evening and the team has the opportunity to post back-to-back wins to open the 2017-2018 season. Standing in the way of Mike Budenholzer and company is the Charlotte Hornets and, of course, old pal Dwight Howard.
The Hornets opened their campaign with a road loss to the Pistons on Wednesday but Howard put up a double-double in typical fashion. While Howard’s arrival is certainly noteworthy, the headline story for Charlotte right now is the absence of Nic Batum and the Hornets are certainly missing their best wing option, especially on the offensive end.
As for the Hawks, all systems appear to be go on the heels of a strong offensive showing in Dallas. It would be unrealistic to think that Atlanta can replicate that kind of performance on a nightly basis but the ball movement and spacing were top notch for much of the evening against the Mavs. From an individual standpoint, the highlight match-up is again, at point guard, with Dennis Schröder taking on an All-Star in Charlotte’s Kemba Walker.
It should be noted that the Hornets have better defensive personnel than the Mavs at this point, especially if the team deploys Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for more minutes without Batum available. In addition to the Howard story line, the return of Marco Belinelli (and the injured Miles Plumlee) to Charlotte is of note and the veteran wing was tremendous in filling up the stat sheet with offensive firepower.
The Hawks will have every opportunity to pull an upset victory and the Hornets will begin the game as a 6-point favorite at home. For further context, FiveThirtyEight indicates Atlanta has only a 17 percent chance to win on the road.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Friday, October 20, 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Spectrum Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game”