Who?: Atlanta Hawks (6th in East) vs. Denver Nuggets (6th in West)
When?: March 13 2012; 9:00 PM (Eastern Time)
Where?: Pepsi Center (Denver, CO)
How?: SportSouth HD (TV) & 680 AM (93.7 radio)
Projected Starting Lineups:
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Kirk Hinrich | C: Zaza Pachulia | PF: Josh Smith | SF: Joe Johnson
PG: Ty Lawson | SG: Arron Afflalo | C: Nene | PF: Kenneth Faried | SF: Danilo Gallinari
Atlanta: Al Horford (left pectoral surgery), Jason Collins (sprained left elbow), and Willie Green (back) are out. Ivan Johnson is not with the team for personal reasons.
Denver: Kosta Koufos (left knee strain), and Rudy Fernandez (lower back strain) are game time decisions.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold:
Records: The Atlanta Hawks are (24-17) and the Denver Nuggets are (23-19).
Streak: The Hawks are riding a 1 game winning streak, and the Nuggets are on a 1 game losing streak.
Away/Home: The Hawks are (12-11) on the road, and the Nuggets are (12-10) at home.
Against .500+ teams: The Atlanta Hawks are (8-12) against teams with winning records while the Denver Nuggets are (9-13).
Against Non-Conference teams: The Atlanta Hawks are (6-7) against Western Conference teams, and the Denver Nuggets are (9-1) against Eastern Conference teams.
Atlanta Hawks- Unknown. I can’t call them hot. I can’t call them cold. Nor can I call them warm or heating up. The Hawks won their last game vs the Kings, but in the past week, you just don’t know which Atlanta Hawks team will show up. So for now, I’ll just call them unknown.
Denver Nuggets- Starting to cool off. The Nuggets have won 5 out of their last 7 games, but they have also lost 2 out of their last 3 games. However, they’re still playing really well. They only lost by a combined four points in the two losses.
Season/Past Season Series:
This will be the first and only meeting between the two teams this season (unless they somehow meet in the NBA Finals).
The Nuggets swept last season’s series, 2-0, and hold an overall three game win streak vs the Hawks.
The Hawks have also lost four straight games in the Pepsi Center. Their last win in Denver came on December of 2006.
The fifth game of the sixth game road trip for the Hawks stops at Denver tonight.
The Denver Nuggets are a tough team. They don’t have one All-star caliber player, but they can go 10 deep, sometimes even 12 deep.
Earlier in the season, Danilo Gallinari was the player the Denver Nuggets looked at to carry the team the most, but unfortunately, he was sidelined for about a month with an ankle injury. While Gallinari has returned from the injury, he has struggled to get it going, scoring only around 5 ppg in 20% shooting (past 4 games).
Despite the recent struggle of Gallinari, the Denver Nuggets have still been solid. That just shows how deep they are.
In the past five games, Arron Afflalo has been one of the players that stepped up. He’s averaging 19 ppg while shooting 53% from the field and 57% from beyond the arc.
However, the hardest part about facing the Nuggets is that you really can’t key on one single player, because they have so many players that can make damage on any given night. One player has a bad game, another player can have a great game. You just don’t know which player will hurt you.
Again….however, that does backfire on the Nuggets. The Nuggets have struggled late in the 4th quarter because of it. They have a bunch of good players and they are one of the more well rounded rosters in the NBA, but they don’t have a go-to player.
If the Hawks can keep it close until late in the 4th, I like the Hawks chances of winning this one.
3 Things I’m Looking Out For:
- Josh Smith. I might as well make this first spot permanent for Josh Smith, because he’s always someone you have to look out for in any Atlanta Hawks game. He’s been on a pretty good tear lately, scoring around 19 ppg and grabbing about 11 rpg in the month of March.
- Arron Aflallo. Like I said, Afflalo has been on a tear lately. I’m sure LD will key on him tonight, putting multiple defenders on him like Hinrich, Johnson, Marvin Williams, and maybe even Tracy McGrady.
- Larry Drew’s rotation. With Willie Green still sidelined and with Ivan Johnson still gone from the team for family reasons, the Hawks bench is even more limited than what it usually is. However, Coach Drew made it even shorter by not playing Tracy McGrady at all during the win vs the Kings. Larry Drew really only went 8 deep during that game (9 deep, if you count Dampier’s 6 minutes). I would think that he has to change that tonight. Denver is one of the most, if not the most, deepest team in the NBA. LD has to use his bench and not tire out the starters. Also, another thing to watch in the rotation is Marvin Williams. For the second straight game, he’s coming off the bench. He played really well, maybe even better, scoring 12 points in 22 minutes.
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