Who?: Atlanta Hawks (7-3) vs. Indiana Pacers (6-3)
When?: January 11th, 2012; 7:00 PM (Eastern Time)
Where?: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)
How?: SportSouth HD (TV) & 680 AM (93.7 radio)
Projected Starting Lineups:
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Joe Johnson | C: Al Horford | PF: Josh Smith | SF: Vladimir Radmanovic
PG: Darren Collison | SG: Paul George | C: Roy Hibbert | PF: David West | SF: Danny Granger
Atlanta: Kirk Hinrich (left shoulder surgery) and Marvin Williams (sprained left ankle) are out.
Indiana: Danny Granger (sprained left ankle and food poisoning) and George Hill (sore lower back) are day-to-day (questionable).
Records: The Atlanta Hawks are (7-3) and the Indiana Pacers are (6-3).
Streak: The Hawks are riding a 3 game winning streak, and the Pacers are on a 1 game losing streak.
Away/Home: The Hawks are (4-2) on the road, and the Pacers are (3-0) at home.
The Atlanta Hawks will face the Indiana Pacers tonight, for the first-of-three games this season. This will be the first-of-two games in Indiana.
The Hawks won last season’s series 3-1.
Even though the Atlanta Hawks are one of the best offensive teams this season, they’ll be challenged tonight as they face one of the best defensive teams, the Indiana Pacers.
The Atlanta Hawks might catch a break though, if Danny Granger and George Hill sit out for tonight’s game. Danny Granger did not play in their last game (Monday) because of a sprained ankle and food poisoning. George Hill also sat out because of a sore lower back.
If Granger and Hill are able to go, Indiana has a good shot winning this game, since they are 3-0 at home this season so far. Indiana will go for its first 4-0 start at home in nine seasons.
The Atlanta Hawks could play spoilers though, as they’ve played pretty well this season on the road, posting a 4-2 record so far.
This game will be one of the more challenging games for both teams, as the Hawks are facing a tough, defensive minded team on the road while the Pacers are facing a hot and streaking Atlanta Hawks team. The Indiana Pacers are 1-2 against .500+ teams this season and the Atlanta Hawks are 2-2 against .500+ teams this season.
3 Things To Watch For:
- Battle of the benches. Even with Marvin Williams still sidelined, the Atlanta Hawks still have a pretty good bench with Tracy McGrady, Zaza Pachulia, Willie Green, and even Jannero Pargo coming off the bench. The Indiana Pacers meanwhile have one of the best benches in the league with George Hill, Jeff Foster, Tyler Hansbrough, and Dahntay Jones coming off the bench.
- Josh Smith. Josh Smith is playing his best ball of this short season so far. In the last three games, Josh has averaged 24.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.3 steals and 2.67 blocked shots while shooting 65% from the field. Smoove will be heavily counted on the defensive end tonight. I have to think he’ll be matched up with David West a lot, Tyler Hansbrough some, Danny Granger some, and even Paul George a little bit. He has the ability to guard all those players because he has good enough size and is quick enough to stay in front of them.
- Jeff Teague. A player playing in his hometown state is always a player to watch out for, since there’s a bit more motivation to play well. Not only that, but Teague’s penetration is much needed tonight. With the Pacer’s length and defensive awareness, shooting jump shots all game long probably won’t work. The Indiana Pacers are the 4th best when it comes to least points per game allowed. Also, Teague’s career high on the road, came against the Indiana Pacers last season (April 8th) when he scored 21 points.