The Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat tip-off the 2013 NBA Preseason tonight when they square off in South Beach at 7:30 p.m.
Atlanta goes into the game short-handed as they will be without the services of second-year sharpshooter John Jenkins, who is dealing with back spasms and will miss the first two preseason games of the year. Combo guard Lou Williams will also be inactive as he’s still recovering from a torn ACL.
Miami, on the other hand, will be at full strength with their full roster in tact, including new pickups Michael Beasley and Greg Oden.
Oden, a former #1 overall pick, and Beasley, a former #2 overall pick, will be key components this season for the Heat as the team embarks on their journey for a third straight championship. Both players were projected to have stellar NBA careers, however injuries have plagued Oden since his rookie season when he had micro-fracture surgery on his ailing right knee causing him to miss the entire year, while off-the-court issues with marijuana have been Beasley’s downfall. Although regardless of the troubles, both players do have serious talent — it’s staying healthy (in Oden’s case) and sober (in Beasley’s case) that they need to do a better job of.
Atlanta meanwhile, will also be unveiling a few prized offseason pickups. Paul Millsap, the most notable acquisition, and former Jazz teammate DeMarre Carroll are reunited and will be making their Hawks debut tonight, as well as rookie sensation Dennis Schroder, who comes into the season as the highest-regarded international player. The 20-year-old point guard from Germany will be pivotal to Atlanta’s backcourt success this season, especially with Lou Williams’ absence. Schroder has drawn comparisons to Celtics all-star point guard Rajon Rondo for his speed and defensive prowess.
Hawks — Teague / Korver / Carroll / Millsap / Horford
Heat — Chalmers /
D. Wade James Jones / LeBron / Haslem / Bosh
Hawks — Lou Williams (ACL rehab), John Jenkins (back spasms)
Heat — Dwyane Wade (rest)
King James vs The Junkyard Dog
Obviously for general NBA fans any matchup that involves LeBron James is must-watch television. However, for gym rats & Hawks fans like myself, all eyes will be on DeMarre Carroll. Carroll was brought over to Atlanta for one thing: defense. Not to score points. Not to dish assists. Strictly to play defense. The 6’8” small forward has a reputation for being one of the hardest workers in the NBA, and he will certainly be tested tonight against the best player in the world, as well as all season long when he’s called upon to defend the oppositions best perimeter player.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game tips-off at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on NBA TV.