Scouting Report: Dallas Mavericks
The Hawks are in the unique position of just having played the team they’ll open the season with. After traveling to Dallas exactly a week ago to face the Mavericks in their preseason finale, Atlanta heads back to the American Airlines Center for the season opener tonight.
None of the Hawks’ projected starters (Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Horford) played in that game, but all are expected to be available tonight. In my opinion, the Hawks have an advantage because the Mavs’ regulars were all playing, so Atlanta has seen them. Dallas hasn’t seen Atlanta’s best yet, so that may work to the Hawks’ advantage. The Hawks also have the advantage of having just made the trip, so they’re familiar with the locker room, the court, the arena, etc. It seems small, but sometimes those things make a difference.
In last week’s game, a 98-88 Dallas win, the Mavericks used a balanced offensive attack, with six players in double figures. Dirk Nowitzki led the charge with 17 points, but he needed 17 shots to do it. If Atlanta can keep his shooting percentage similar and keep him off the line, they have a chance. In general, the Hawks did a very good job in the foul department, taking 25 free throws to Dallas’ nine.
Monta Ellis has the capability to have big scoring nights, but his 5-13 shooting last Wednesday is about what I’d expect. There’s no harm in him getting 15 points if he’s taking 13 shots to do it.
The guy that almost scares me the most offensively is Jose Calderon. He’s a fantastic shooter, but it goes unnoticed. Earlier this week he made 23 of 25 three-pointers at practice, according to a Twitter report, so it’s best not to leave him if you’re Teague. Make him put the ball on the floor and beat you off the dribble.
Vince Carter is the sixth man but often plays with the starters. He’s not what he used to be, but he’s still dangerous, especially when he lurks around that three-point line. He made half of his attempts last week.
The Hawks did a lot of good things Wednesday in what I thought was their best preseason game. They outrebounded Dallas, took more free throws and played good interior defense. There are a few areas that they’ll have to get better at though. They only had 14 assists, shot just 24 percent from deep and had 20 turnovers. Those numbers will have to improve, but I think they will as the regulars get into tonight’s rotation.
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