Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day: Dallas Mavericks vs Atlanta Hawks

 

Dallas Mavericks (0-0) vs. Atlanta Hawks (0-0) @ 7:30 CT

The Mavericks host the Atlanta Hawks for their season and home opener. The Hawks come in lead by center Al Horford, re-signed point guard Jeff Teague, and newly signed forward Paul Millsap.  Both the Mavericks and Hawks aren’t viewed as playoff locks.

Teague and rookie Dennis Shroder are the Hawks best and only perimeter threats.  The Hawks do have shooters Kyle Korver and John Jenkins, but their impact is in question depending on the defense the Mavericks decide to play. It is a must for the Mavericks to be able contain Horford and Millsap on the inside and keep them off the glass as the Hawks lack other scoring threats. If the Mavericks must double and over help on the inside then Korver and Jenkins will be free to fire at will, something the Hawks will be happy with. It will be interesting and important to see how the Mavericks decide to guard the quicker and athletic Teague and  Schroder.  This will be Rick Carlisle’s first test to see how Jose Calderon will be able to match up with opposing point guards. It could be possible that Monta Ellis will be used to guard these quicker guards when there isn’t a threat at the shooting guard position. Although Teague isn’t a Chris Paul or Stephen Curry, he gives the Mavericks a preview of their future game plan against quick and athletic point guards.

The Hawks will get the first look at Dirk Nowitzki working with new additions Ellis and Calderon. The Hawks defense will be challenge as they can expect plenty of pick-n-pops involving Nowitzki.

It is very important for the Mavericks to avoid coming out flat as they have a double header against conference and division rivals Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies Friday and Saturday.  If the Mavericks aren’t careful they can easily start the season 0-3, but before looking too far ahead, the Mavericks must be able to win game one of the season.

Key Matchup(s)

Samuel Dalembert vs Al Horford

The Mavericks will ask for a lot out of Dalembert.  He is the team’s best and lone post defender.  Dalembert wont just be asked to contain Horford, but he must be able to rebound and provide great help defense for the rest of the Mavs.  If Dalembert is able to avoid foul trouble and contain Horford the Mavericks will be in great shape to leave home with a win.

Dirk Nowitzki vs Paul Millsap

After spending his first seven seasons in the league with the Utah Jazz, Millsap will look to take over the scoring load left behind with the departure of Josh Smith.  Nowitzki, like Dalembert will have his hands full down low.  Although Millsap stands at 6’8″ he is a great rebounder and low post scorer.  Millsap has improved his shooting range over the seasons, but still prefers to work around the basket and midrange area. Expect Millsap to be very physical against Nowitzki as he has been in years past.

Although the Mavericks have the stronger guard players, this game will be decided by the bigs.

Injuries

Hawks

Louis Williams – Out

Mavericks

Devin Harris – Out

Shane Larkin – Out

Brandan Wright – Out

Next Game

Hawks

vs Toronto Raptors (0-0) Fri, Nov 1 @ 6:30 CT

Mavericks

@ Houston Rockets (0-0) Fri, Nov 1 @ 7:00 CT

Who Will Win The Game

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Tags: Al Horford Atlanta Hawks Dallas Mavericks

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