The San Antonio Spurs (11-7) will host the Atlanta Hawks (13-5) at the AT&T Center tonight as the Spurs will be looking to start a new home winning streak after dropping a game to the lowly Sacramento Kings.
This will be the Hawks and Spurs only meeting this season but history is not on Atlanta's side. The Hawks have not beaten the Spurs in San Antonio since February, 1997 and lost the season series last year to San Antonio (0-2).
To talk about tonight's matchup, I turned to Deborah Horton of Bloguin's own Hawks Highlights. In this Q&A, Deborah speaks about the possible return of Kirk Hinrich to the Hawks, what Atlanta has to do to get a win in San Antonio and much more.
Jeff: Atlanta is having a successful yet quiet season. Do you take the Hawks' winning ways with a grain of salt or is there more to this team than teams in the past?
Deborah: Atlanta is the same team it has been with the exception of a few veterans added before the start of season. Overall though, they are the same team. They have gotten a good break in the schedule where they play several inferior teams over the span of a week and the fact that the Heat has been struggling quite a bit. It has allowed them to get into first place. With the short season they might have a shot at staying at the top or near the top with their schedule, but the team has changed little from last season.
Should Kirk Hinrich make his way back to the court tonight, what will he bring to Atlanta?
Hinrich brings passing and an ability to move the ball. He was very good with assists last year and should bring that again this year. He doesn’t provide the kind of spark that Jamal Crawford did for the Hawks though. But with Al Horford out, the Hawks will be glad to have Hinrich back in the game.
The Spurs are almost unbeatable in San Antonio only losing one game this season. What does Atlanta have to do tonight to get the win?
Hope the Spurs play badly! Seriously, the Hawks will need to start out fast, make the shots in the paint and get rebounds to try and stay in the game. It won’t be easy for them.
Which Spurs' player has you worried tonight and why?
Tony Parker has had a great start to his season. He is the player the Hawks have to keep out of his game zone in order to keep control of the game. If Parker is allowed to shoot at will then the Hawks stand little chance.
Tell Spurs and Hawks fans which matchup they should keep their eye on tonight.
Josh Smith and Tim Duncan…these two players are the heaters for their teams. If they get hot so goes the team.
Anything else you have to say about the Hawks?
While the Hawks may be 13 and 5 and at the top of their division at the moment, all true Hawks fans know how bipolar they really can be.
Will it be the "old" warriors of the spurs again tonight? TD, TP and RJ? By this time the others must have matured to contribute. Focal of attnetion will be on Splitter, how he performs and Neal, Blair and Anderson. Fans will watch how Leonard will perform against Johnson. If the supporting casts play their role, the spurs win. Malcolm Thomas must play to prove his worth. There will be nights when TD rests. Thomas must come out and take the slack, or leave.