Atlanta Hawks (0-1, 0-0 road) vs. OKC Thunder (1-1, 1-0 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 101.9 (15th), Hawks– 104.7 (9th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 95.5 (7th), Hawks – 111.9 (28th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (21st), Hawks – 97.4 (3rd)
View from the enemy: Hoopinion
After tonight, it’s either a winning record, or a losing one. And having a losing record is no fun at all.
The win over Portland certainly righted things, at least temporarily, in that people quit focusing on the negatives in losing to the Spurs and redirected at looking at the positives. Russell Westbrook sent a reminder that he’s a good basketball player and Kevin Martin continued on with his capable efficient scoring.
As of now, things feel OK.
But it’s a new game which means it’s a new opportunity to tilt the scale one way or the other. Both in the win-loss column, and in the overall outlook of the team.
Atlanta coming in: They’ve played once losing to the Rockets at home.
Three Big Things
1. No Josh Smith. The versatile power forward is out tonight, meaning a bigger role for Anthony Tolliver and likely Ivan Johnson. So if Perk plays, as expected, that means Ivan Johnson versus Perk. That’s a whole lot of scary.
2. Bench battle. In their opener, the Hawks got 37 from their second unit, including 22 from Lou Williams. OKC is obviously working in new things with its second unit, and is counting on Eric Maynor and Kevin Martin to continue to provide production. With Smith out for Atlanta, the Hawks are going to be in search of supplementary scoring.
3. KD, PG. Durant is clearly focused on playmaking and rebounding right now. I love watching him score more than anything, but Durant wants to create and distribute for teammates. And late against the Blazers, he ran the offense quite a bit. The Thunder are probably going to work on that even more tonight.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Kevins.