Dec 30, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) is forced to pass as his drive to the basket is blocked by Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

3/23 New Jersey Nets vs Atlanta Hawks Game Day Preview: All You Need to Know

Welcome back Marvin. Want to do this again? Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Who?: New Jersey Nets (13th in East) vs Atlanta Hawks (6th in East)

When?: March 23 2012; 7:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)

How?: SportSouth HD (TV) & 680 AM (93.7 radio)

Other Atlanta Hawks Coverage: Atlanta Hawks Fan Site, AJC Blog, Peachtree Hoops (SB Nation), Hoopinion (TrueHoop)

FanSided’s New Jersey Nets Blog :  From Russia With Dunk

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Projected Starting Lineups:

New Jersey Nets:

PG: Deron Williams| SG: Marshon Brooks | C: Shelden Williams | PF: Kris Humphries | SF: Gerald Wallace

Atlanta Hawks:

PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Kirk Hinrich | C: Ivan Johnson* | PF: Josh Smith | SF: Joe Johnson

*You might see Jason Collins or Erick Dampier start at Center.

Injury/Inactive Players Report:

New Jersey Nets: Damion James (right foot) and Brook Lopez (right ankle) are out. Jordan Farmar (right groin) is questionable.

Atlanta: Al Horford (left pectoral surgery), Vladimir Radmanovic (back), Zaza Pachulia (sore achilles) and Jannero Pargo (appendicitis) are out. Ivan Johnson (personal reasons) and Marvin Williams is expected to return.

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Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold:

Records: The New Jersey Nets are (15-33) and the Atlanta Hawks are (27-20).

Streak: The Nets are riding a 4 game losing streak while the Hawks are on a 1 game win streak.

Away/Home: The Nets are (10-15) on the road, and the Hawks are (14-7) at home.

Against .500+ teams: The Nets only post a record of (4-22) against winning teams this season.

Against non-winning teams: The Atlanta Hawks post an impressive record of (19-4) against non-winning teams this season.

New Jersey Nets- Cold. Nets have lost 4 in a row and have lost 6 out of their last 7 games. They have lost by a combined margin of 48 points in their last 4 games.

Atlanta Hawks- Lukewarm. Not cold. Not hot. Yes, they did win their last game, but it wasn’t an impressive win.

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Season/Past Season Series:

This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. This will also be the 2nd time this season they’ll both play in Philips Arena.

So far in the season series, the Hawks are undefeated, winning all three games. In those 3 games, the Hawks outscored the Nets by 48 points (36 in the first game).

The Hawks have an overall four game win streak against the Nets (counting last season). They also hold a 6 game win streak whenever it’s played in Philips Arena.

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3 Things I’m Looking Out For:

  • Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. The two have been playing Batman and Robin during this month. One game, Joe Johnson is clearly the better player. The next game, Josh Smith is clearly the better player. Who steps up between the two? If I had to take a guess, it will be Joe. With Marvin Williams back, I would like to see Coach Drew go with Teague or Hinrich at point guard and have Joe at Shooting Guard while Marvin plays Small Forward. I would hate to see Larry Drew go small for most of the game, because Joe Johnson can abuse Marshon Brooks. If Joe plays Small Forward for most of the game, I’m not sure if he’ll be capable of having a big night trying to score against Gerald Wallace.
  • Who plays Center? With Al Horford already out, the options are limited. Now with Zaza Pachulia sitting out, there’s really not one reliable Center. Jason Collins is bad….Erick Dampier is worst…and Ivan Johnson doesn’t have the size (works hard though). If I were Larry Drew, I’ll take my chances on Ivan Johnson before I do Jason Collins or Dampier. The Nets’ starting Center (Shelden Williams) isn’t a tall player, so match-up wise, it makes sense for me to start Ivan Johnson. Larry Drew can also opt to go ultra small and have Josh Smith at Center, Marvin at Power Forward, Joe Johnson at Small Forward, and Hinrich & Teague at the Shooting Guard and Point Guard spot, but I’m not sure if he has the boldness to do so. I’m not even sure that would be the right move anyway.
  • Deron Williams.  The Hawks have been struggling against the top point guards recently, and Deron Williams is definitely at the top of the list when it comes to top point guards. Teague and Hinrich will draw the defensive assignment, and I’m not sure if either one can stay in front of Deron. Teague is quick, but whenever he gets picked by a big man, he has trouble recovering. Hinrich is better at fighting through screens, but his problem is that his lateral movement isn’t as quick as what it used to be. If Deron Williams can take advantage of both Teague and Hinrich, he’ll keep his team in it, maybe even get the upset win.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Deron Williams Erick Dampier Gerald Wallace Ivan Johnson Jason Collins Joe Johnson Josh Smith Marshon Brooks Marvin Williams New Jersey Nets Shelden Williams

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