The Hawks carry a 4-0 record in 2011 and 10 straight home wins overall into the game.
Update: Weather has forced a postponement of tonight's game until March 15. Though the Bucks are probably annoyed that they flew down to Atlanta for nothing, the good news is that they'll hopefully be closer to full strength when the make-up game occurs two months from now. While Andrew Bogut was expected to return tonight after missing Saturday's game with a viral infection, Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino are still out while Drew Gooden is also still working his way back from plantar fasciitis. The Bucks will now play in Atlanta on March 15, two days after visiting the Celtics and a day before their home game with the Magic.
Again. After 12 head-to-head matchups in 2010, the Hawks and Bucks are already back it in 2011. The road team has won each of the first two games so far this season, with Milwaukee winning big in Atlanta back in November and the Hawks stomping the Bucks just a couple weeks ago in Milwaukee.
Hot Hawks. Atlanta is 4-0 this calendar year, already having strung road wins together last week in L.A. against the Clips, and in Sacramento, Utah, and Indiana.
On pace for. Scott Skiles is running the slowest offense of his head coaching tenure, with a 24th ranked 90.5 pace factor (an estimate of number of possessions played in 48 minutes). His reputation as a defensive-minded coach may have misled some to believe that Skiles has historically run slow offenses, but that is far from the case.
This season and last mark the first two times that Skiles' team rank in the slower half of the NBA. His 01-02 Suns were sixth fastest in the NBA, and at 51-31, that remains his winningest year as head coach. He pushed the ball with the Bulls as well -- notably his 06-07 version boasted the best defense overall and sixth fastest pace.
The Bucks have fallen from 11th to 19th to now 24th in pace under Skiles as the league in general has gotten faster -- last year and this year are the two fastest since the turn of this century as a league. And it's not as though Milwaukee was even playing up-and-down basketball as they tossed in 115 in 92 possessions in rocking the Nets the other day. Early Boykins has been great late in the shot clock so far (54.2 % efg 16-21 into the shot clock, 51.7 efg% 21+ into the shot clock), and the team rightfully likes to get Andrew Bogut going early on.
So this particular edition of Bucks is not the fleetest of foot -- Bogut is pretty plodding and John Salmons isn't throwing down in transition on the reg. And those are two of the team's foremost featured players. But if Brandon Jennings, Chris Douglas-Roberts and even Larry Sanders are to factor largely going forward as they should, the team should look to break a bit more. Corey Maggette is coming around, he excelled in Golden State under Nelly, and he can finish at the hoop. Luc Mbah a Moute can keep up, and Carlos Delfino (getting better) is happy to bring the ball up himself.
I don't propose the team blast its way into shootouts, but it's harder to shoot at the rim (and the Bucks are still the worst in the NBA at the rim -- 55.2 %) when you are always doing so in the halfcourt.
The Hawks are actually just as slow (ever-so-slightly slower, even), with a 90.5 pace.
16-23. The Hawks are the second best shooting team in the NBA from 16-23 feet -- making 44.2 % (though Dec. 8 per Hoop Data).
Atlanta shot 15-27 (.556) from that distance when they beat the Bucks just a couple weeks ago, but only made 11-25 (.440) on those shots when they lost badly to Milwaukee in November.
Sir Sid. For those watching locally, Sidney Moncrief will join Jim Paschke in the television booth in Jon McGlocklin's stead for the week. The Original Buck will return to the broadcast team on Jan. 19 against the Wizards.
Cold-lanta. Snow and freeezing rain advisories, and so forth, in Atlanta over the last day.