Top 10 Hawks Matchups – #10: Opening Night in Dallas

Monday, August 12, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Atlana Hawks v Dallas Mavericks

Over the next few weeks we will be counting down the 10 most anticipated games on the recently released 2013-14 Atlanta Hawks schedule. Starting the countdown at number 10, we have the season-opener on Oct. 30 in Dallas against the Mavericks.

Opening night is always exciting, but, with so many new faces on the Hawks’ roster and coaching staff, the season opener in Dallas this season has the added excitement of being the first game of this new era of Hawks basketball. With only seven holdovers from last season (Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, John Jenkins, Mike Scott, and Shelvin Mack) and a new coach with a new system, the Hawks will have to become comfortable playing with each other and in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s system in a short amount of time.

The first game will offer a lot of information on how the Hawks will use different player combinations, how players will be used in Budenholzer’s system, and how well they’ve grasped the new concepts during training camp. Being that there are so many new players on the roster, it will be interesting to see what starting lineup Budenholzer will go with and what his bench rotation will look like. The Hawks have a number of versatile players on the roster that are capable of playing multiple positions, so Budenholzer will have a number of different lineup options he can go with. Watching which combinations of players he puts together on the floor, as well as which ones he does not, will be one of the more intriguing storylines of the first game.

As for how the Hawks match-up against the Mavericks, the story always starts with trying to limit and contain Dirk Nowitzki on the offensive end. Even with the additions of Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis, the Mavericks’ offense will continue to run through Nowitzki, and the Hawks will have to find a way to apply pressure and make him as uncomfortable as possible. While Dirk remains the constant for Dallas, they too, like Atlanta, have a number of new players on the roster and will be looking to figure out their rotations and how to play together.

The Hawks split the season-series last year with the Mavericks, with both teams winning on the road. The Hawks will hope that they can once again have success in Dallas and open the Hawks new era with a victory.

We will continue the countdown later this week with our ninth most anticipated game of the season.

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

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