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The Other Side: Atlanta Hawks

Come fly with me. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Washington Wizards played a big role in helping the Hawks record their best record this decade last season. They lost all four games. But with Gilbert Arenas back and a new coach in Flip Saunders, many expect the Wizards and Hawks to contend for the fourth spot and homecourt advantage in the first round.

The Hawks are coming off a 120-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, as all-star guard Joe Johnson scored 25 points. Center Al Horford added 24 points and 17 rebounds. Here's what you need to know before the game tonight:

1. The Hawks are tough to beat at home. Last season, the Hawks went 31-10 at Philips Arena. They really want to win their first two games at home since they play their next four games on the road -- a three-game West Coast road trip through Los Angeles, Portland and Sacramento, then another road game in Charlotte.

2. Although it wasn't revealed in their season opener, the Hawks have more depth than last season. They retained their own free agents (Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia), added some veterans (Joe Smith and Jamal Crawford) and drafted an exciting young point guard in Jeff Teague.

3. Jamal Crawford may finally reach the playoffs. Crawford, the newly acquired reserve guard, has the longest postseason drought of any player in the NBA, having spent the first nine seasons of his career on lowsy teams in Chicago, New York and Golden State.

By Michael Lee  |  October 30, 2009; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  The Other Side  
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Next: Wizards exercise options on Young, McGee


"...having spent the first nine seasons of his career on lowsy teams in Chicago, New York and Golden State"


Posted by: Samson151 | October 30, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Lowsy - the new hybrid of "lowly" and "lousy". Apply generously to your local football team!

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | October 30, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Comments from Sports Illustrated about Stephen Curry's first game:

"First off, he's not a lights-out shooter to begin with, a misconception that might linger. On this team, that's Anthony Morrow (who clearly is psyched to have a point guard who looks for him on the wing). Second, he shoots a bit of a push-shot, and he uses both hands, so it's somewhat methodical, and his release point is so low that I can't imagine him getting it off unless he's wide open. That said ...
"6. He's good at creating jumpers off the dribble."

Posted by: Samson151 | October 30, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

just like everyone has said,Blatch and Oberto must play well for this team to win. Earlier this week after the Dallas game someone posted Atlanta will be a better test. I agree even though the Dallas win WAS a positive step in my opinion.
If they win or push Atlanta to the limit I will grow more confident in this team.

Posted by: millineumman | October 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

From Jones article in the Times this morning:

It looks like Javale may get some PT tonight against Atlanta (i.e. a good deal more than 42 seconds). Apparently he had a very good practice and Saunders seems to see him as a good matchup against the athletic Hawks.

Also, Saunders seemed to take note that Young reacted the right way to not playing in the first game (he played in all 82 last year). He worked hard and did extra things in practice. Could Young be maturing a little bit? Maybe he will get some time tonight as well.

Posted by: cannontl | October 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The Dallas win on the road was BIG.
Tonites game will tell us if Flip can get the Wizzies up for another tuff team.
These are the type of games that Eddie J's team would go into and play flat.
The Hawks are a talented and deep team like us. They held the Pacers to 15 in the 4th. That's another signature of Eddie J's Wizzies, lack of scoring in the 4th. They also scored 120 this game will tell us if the D is for real. I hope Gil, CB & BH are rested after 3 Q's so they are fresh. I don't think Flip will play Gil more than 32 Min. Sounds like we'll see more of Javale tonite. Maybe a win will ease AJ's mind and keep him from coming back too soon.

Posted by: VBFan | October 30, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

cannontl, i think you implicitly make a good point. Young will be under pressure to put in extra effort and to really pay attention to the details. He has no other choice. In years past, particularly last year, he could expect to get minutes regardless of his play because the team stunk, especially at the 2. This year, he's really got to earn his time, and once he does play, he knows that poor play on his part might be the difference b/w winning and losing. This is the good kind of pressure. Also, he can't sulk on a good team b/c he will appear selfish, which won't help him get on the floor.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 30, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

When are people going to wise up that Atlanta is STACKED.

They should would the division this year if they stay healthy.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | October 30, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

ZARDS ARE FINISHING NUMBER 1 BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!! F YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cartaldo | October 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'll be the contrarian; when both teams are at full strength, our starters are better than theirs, our bench is better than theirs, and our coach is better than theirs. The only thing where they have an advantage is with the fans.

Maybe DCman and Bullets78 will get high paying jobs at Coke, Inc.

Posted by: Izman | October 30, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

My co-worker is basketball savvy(he's about the only one)here at my office in the A-T-L and he told me as i walked in "are y'all ready for your beat down tonite" i just smiled at him and said "just make sure those bama's show up", to which he replied "we ain't from NO BAMA"........... I had to explain to him that not what i meant it was seriously funny, he's a white guy from Columbus,Ga. and he really try's to be hip probably late 30's while i grew up in DC and just moved here 3 yrs. ago and i'm almost 60 and black, we are alway's talking politic's and Obama he voted for McCain and he just started following the Hawk's the last few years so we discuss pro basketball all the time.He was really shocked that i knew more baseball than he did, i had to explain i'm older and i played in hs and college,The wizards will have to have their A game tonite the Hawk's are no joke and they are deep, Jeff Teague is seroius upgrade over Acie Law as a backup to Mike Bibby should be a good one tonite.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 30, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Tonight should be a track meet. If Gilbert brings anything comparable to his game 1 action Bibby may end up breaking an ankle.

Rebounding numbers will be telling, lots of quick jumpers on Hawks while the Wiz have the length.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 30, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

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