Atlanta Hawks Game Preview: First Tilt with Division Rival Washington

Dewayne Dedmon #14 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dewayne Dedmon #14 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks will face off with the Wizards of Washington tonight, the first of four matches on the year.

The Atlanta Hawks will show up to State Farm Arena with a 5-19 record, last in the Southeast division, while the Wizards look to continue shaking off their disastrous run to begin the season, 10-14 now after the 1-7 start. The home Hawks will be looking to avoid their third straight loss, and the a Wizards win would be their 3rd straight W.

Unfortunately, the Hawks will take the floor without their starting SF and 3rd-leading scorer, Taurean Prince, who is out with an ankle injury. Kent Bazemore, who recently moved to the 6th man role, is likely to take the starting spot, but DeAndre’ Bembry is a possibility as well.

Last season, the teams split the season series, two a piece, and have had some history in the last few seasons. They’ve faced off in the playoffs 2 times in the past 4 seasons and Dennis Schröder  and John Wall had one of the most underrated beefs in recent NBA history. If the Atlanta Hawks didn’t decide to tank after the 2016-17 season, the match-up could have devolved into a full-fledged rivalry.

While the Hawks are expected to be near the bottom, no on e expected the Wizards to stumble out the gate the way they did. The aforementioned 1-7 start was compounded many rumors, jokes, and a 34-point loss to the Clippers. They were the laughingstock of the league just a few weeks ago, but have been slowly trying to turn it around before it got too late.

A team that has aspirations for a deep playoff run should be able to handle business against a 5-win team, and the All-Star back court of Bradley Beal and Wall should easily overpower Atlanta’s. Beal and Wall have a combined 16 years experience while probable starters Trae Young and Kevin Huerter are both rookies.

Big men John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon will need to step up to help the young guards, and have the potential to swing the game in the Atlanta Hawks favor, as the Wizards have one of the worst frontcourts in the league.

As of December the 4th, the Wizards rank 28th in the league in total rebounds and allow their opponent 12.5 offensive boards a game, dead last in the league.

Washington, as they will for the rest of the season, hope their strength in the back court can outweigh their other struggles, and the Hawks will no doubt be looking to take advantage.

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Tip-off is Wednesday, December 5th at 5:30 in Atlanta.