The San Antonio Spurs (58-19) will travel to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Hawks (44-33) tonight looking to get a winning streak going while maintaining their hold on the NBA's best record and the number one playoff seed.
The last time these two teams met, it was a 108-92 win by the Spurs in San Antonio. In that game, Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili poured in 18 points while DeJuan Blair grabbed 12 rebounds.
Tonight's game wil be a matchup of offense versus defense. The Spurs rank sixth in the NBA averaging 103.4 points per game while the Hawks rank seventh in the league allowing opposing teams score 95 points per game.
To discuss tonight's contest, I turn to fellow Bloguin NBA blogger Deborah Horton of Hawks Highlights. One of the best Hawks sites on the Internet. Not only does Deborah give great insight into the Hawks, but she is known on Bloguin for her choice of quirky pictures for her blog posts.
In this Q&A, Deborah talks about the Hawks' outlook for the Eastern Conference playoffs, what it will take for Atlanta to beat San Antonio, and more. And by "more" I mean she gave Project Spurs a quirky picture for this collaboration.
Jeff: The Hawks are currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With the few games remaining, can they sneak into the top four sports to secure home court advantage?
Deborah: No I do not think the Hawks can move up. There are 5 games left and the Hawks are 4 games back of the Magic. I do not see either the Hawks winning all 5 or the Magic losing 4 or more to end the regular season. The Hawks remain in their 5th seed spot where they have been for a very long time.
Speaking of the Eastern conference playoffs, the Hawks took the season series from the Orlando Magic who are currently in the fourth spot in the East and took it to the Boston Celtics recently and won. Is Atlanta a dangerous team for any top four East team?
Atlanta seems to have figured out how to play the Magic well. They worked that game almost to perfection and took 3 of 4 on the season from the Magic. They should be able to at least give them a run in the first round. If the Hawks make it out of the first round, they next round will not be so easy for them and since you never know what team you are going to get from the Hawks, you just cannot say with certainty what they will or will not do. I do not hold out much hope that they make it past the second round. Maybe I need more sacrifices.
The last time San Antonio and Atlanta faced off, the Spurs won 108-92 in San Antonio. Six Spurs scored in double figures. What will it take for the Hawks to beat the Spurs?
The Hawks have to play hard the entire game not just some of it and they have to defend. Six players in double figures means that the Hawks were not stopping the ball movement and were not getting in the way of anyone taking a shot. They have to keep their intensity, ramp up the defense and be on their own shooting game as well. It will not be easy that is for sure. The Hawks need a great game from Joe Johnson, who is as wishy-washy as they come and some good production from whomever is on the bench.
There are many key matchups in tonight's contest but if you can tell Spurs and Hawks fans to keep an eye on one matchup, which will it be?
I wish I could pick a matchup but Coach Drew is like a lineup junkie strung out on crack. He has had about 100 different lineups this season and you never know what he’s going with until game day. Almost every game this season, he has tried some kind of different lineup situation. It has become mind boggling. I have no idea who he will play against the Spurs. If he goes with the “big” lineup we may see more of Zaza who has played well of late, but again, there is just no way to know.
Which team comes out on top tonight?
I want to say the Hawks. They have been playing well of late despite their very close loss to the Rockets on Sunday. Unfortunately, my Magic 8-Ball is defective and Joboo doesn’t love me – so, I will say I hope the Hawks win, but I will not be shocked if they do not.
Because of their recent slump, I wouldn't keep my hope too high on the Spurs. I can only hope that they'll win this game.