The Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks (35-23) tonight in their second straight ESPN national broadcast. The Blazers, of course, will debut their new athletic, high flying, defensive minded small forward—Gerald Wallace. Every eye on the Rose Garden will be rested on him and I hope it isn’t too overwhelming for him to play in front of a home crowd of more than 2,000.
The Blazers should have their hands full with an athletic Hawks roster that has a new addition of their own—point guard Kirk Hinrich, whose slight upgrade(?) at the point guard position is a lesser addition than that of Gerald Walaces, but nonetheless it will be intriguing to see how both players adapt to their new teams. Aside from Hinrich the rest of the lineup is similar to the Hawks of the past. They still have two very athletic post players in Al Horford and Josh Smith, who will score on a team in bunches if they don’t have two athletic posts to defend them with.
The Oregonian is reporting that Marcus Camby will be back and start tonight so his addition is vital in the Blazers defensive efforts to stop the duo. Of course, you can’t talk about the Hawks without mentioning joe Johnson. Johnson’s production is down from last year but still he is an all world scorer and it will be up to Wesley Matthews and most likely Nic Batum to try and slow him down.
The Hawks come in having lost 6 of their last eight games and trying to hold onto the fifth seed in the competitive East. This game is going to be a great opening test for the new look Blazers and as long as they play in control and get out on the fast breaks when possible, they’ve got a great shot at starting the post all star break 2-1.
Tip Off: 7:30
TV: CSN and ESPN3.com
Radio: 95.5 FM
Vegas Line: Por -5