I just got back from my first live NBA game in years. I got to watch the Hawks take down the young Portland Trail Blazers. Knowing the Kings would play the Hawks Wednesday night, I wanted to see what the Kings were up against.
1) Al Horford is a BEAST. This is the biggest one. I have no idea how he does it, but the guy's athleticism and quickness is out of this world for a guy who is 6'10" and 245 lbs. There were times that he moved better than Brandon Roy on the court. He's not incredibly strong, but he played like he could be a 2 guard.
2) Al Horford is a BEAST part 2. I haven't looked at the full box score so I don't actually know what his +/- was, but I saw a huge difference when he was on the court and when he was off the court. Specifically, when he was off the court, Lamarcus Aldridge was doing his own beasting--providing a spark for the Blazers on both sides of the court. However, when Horford was on the court, Aldridge absolutely disappeared. I would not look for Jason Thompson to have his breakout game of the season against Atlanta because I would bet Horford will be guarding him all game.
3) Mike Bibby continues to lose his quickness. This is sad and yet not unexpected considering his age. Bibby was never The Flash, but Bibby is really starting to age. I would think having Tyreke guard Bibby would be a bit of a waste of 'Reke's ability to be honest. Bibby is still very cerebral and the best floor general on the Hawks, but he's certainly not the PG who dropped 6 straight 20-point games against the Lakers in the 2002 playoffs.
4) The Hawks offense looked best when it was running the floor. When the Hawks played a half-court offense, they were slow and ineffective. With Horford's quickness moving down the court, the Hawks were able to get their size down the court before the Blazers and take advantage of Horford almost every time.
All this said, I think the Hawks are a beatable team. The damage down low is going to have to come when Horford is not in the game, but I think we have a team that can hang with Atlanta. I will be interested to see how Hawes and JT play this game.