2012-13 NBA Game Of The Week: Week 7 Hawks V Warriors
The two teams battling it out in the this weeks game of the week are Atlanta and Golden State. Both teams haven’t really been talked about as contenders, but both are playing consistently good basketball.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONS:
Time & Date: Sunday, December 16, 2012 11:00am AEDT
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta.
FORM HEADING IN:
In their past meeting on November 14 in Golden State, the Warriors came out winners in a tight match 92-88.
Atlanta have had a great start to the season.
They have been anything but the disappointment many people believed they would be after trading all-star Joe Johnson to Brooklyn.
The Hawks have quietly gone about their business and are currently equal with New York and Miami for the least amount of losses in the East.
Their most recent win came against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
This match showed just how good they can be when they play as a team. It was a tight first half with Memphis up by 6 points.
Things changed in the third quarter, Atlanta turned up the heat on the defensive end and held Memphis to only 13 points and scored 32 of their own. Atlanta ended up winning 93-83.
Golden State: 13-7
Golden State have been one of the most surprising team in the league.
Many thought they could be good if injury didn’t hit, but it did hit, in the form of Andrew Bogut. Even with Bogut on the sidelines, the Warriors have proved that they are definately a huge chance to make a run in the playoffs.
The Warriors have won 6 out of their last 7 games, including a massive confidence building win over the Nets in Brooklyn.
Their last win was against Washington, where they just scraped home in an unconvincing win.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHT:
The match up of the night will be between David Lee and Josh Smith at the power forward position. This match up will shape the outcome of this match, both players provide so much for their respective teams.
David Lee is having his best season in a Warriors uniform. He has been on fire in his last two outings with a total of 54 points and 32 rebounds. Lee’s rebounding has been extra valuable for Golden State with Bogut on the sidelines.
Lee is averaging the most assists of his career with 3.7 per game. This improvement has made Lee’s all round game even better and even harder for his opponent to pick a weakness to focus on.
Josh Smith is the anchor of this Atlanta team. Smith has been the subject of many trade rumours all season long, but he hasn’t let it effect his play. He is playing great on the defensive end and is also scoring in bunches.
J-Smoove is having one of his most consistent seasons to date, scoring in double figures in every match bar one against Orlando when he played only 22 minutes.
This match up will be a pleasure to watch, neither player will give the other any room to operate in. Smith may be fancier finisher of the two, but don’t underestimate Lee on the offensive end of the floor.
It will crucial as to who can get back on the defensive end the quickest and pull down the most rebounds.
Heading into most games Klay Thompson looks like an X factor and this game is no different.
Thompson is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA today, he can stroke it like few others when he gets in his groove. He’ll be matching up against Devin Harris, who has improved this season, should be a good match up for Thompson.
Harris is an average shooting guard, whereas Thompson in my opinion, is right there in the upper echelon of players in his position. I am expecting Thompson to get on a roll and exploit Harris on the offensive end.
Both teams have prominent role players who do their job for the team night in, night out coming off the bench.
Lou Williams has been great coming off the bench for Atlanta since crossing from Philadelphia in the off season.
He started off the season on fire, scoring 22 points in his Atlanta debut, since then he has only had a couple of below par games.
Most recently against Memphis he was an integral reason, along with Smith as to why Atlanta pulled off that great victory. He scored 21 points, including four 3′s.
Carl Landry has proved to be a more than just a serviceable bench player for Golden State this season.
He has been putting up good numbers all season and is averaging his most points per game since the 2009-10 season with 13.2. Landry is also making an impact with his rebounding, he is averaging 7 rebounds, 3 of which are on the offensive end.
Zaza Pachulia is a great back up for Al Horford at centre. Pachulia is a terrific rebounder, averaging 7, in 24 minutes of game time. He also contributes on offense, with an average of nearly 7 points per game.
Jarrett Jack has been a solid player for most of his NBA career.
His numbers are down on last year when he was playing with New Orleans, but he has shown that he is still a good shooter for his team. Jack is averaging 10 points, 4.6 assists and 3 rebounds. These are good all round numbers and prove his versatility for the team.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS:
- Point guard: Jeff Teague
- Shooting guard: Devin Harris
- Small forward: Kyle Korver
- Power forward: Josh Smith
- Centre: Al Horford
- Point guard: Stephen Curry
- Shooting guard: Klay Thompson
- Small forward: Harrison Barnes
- Power forward: David Lee
- Centre: Festus Ezeli
The big advantage Atlanta have is that Golden State will be playing the second of a back to back game.
This could prove to be a huge advantage if Golden State have a tough match against Orlando the night before. It will be interesting to see Golden State can come out with the energy required.
If it looks like Golden State are sluggish, I would be expecting Atlanta to take full advantage of that and run all night long. I think this will be a fascinating contest with both teams having great shooters.
My Prediction: Atlanta: 96 Golden State: 88
Who do you see winning this one?
Photo Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images