Hawks (23-12) vs. Magic (24-12)
Time/TV: 7 p.m./FSFlorida
Key Matchup: Josh Smith (15.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG) vs. Rashard Lewis (14.9 PPG, 41% 3FG%)
-Things are getting worse according to Stan Van Gundy after Orlando blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in Washington last night and lost Vince Carter to a sprained shoulder in the second quarter. The four-game losing streak is the longest in Stan Van Gundy’s tenure with the Magic.
-General manager Otis Smith tells the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins that Vince Carter is day-to-day after spraining his left shoulder in last night’s loss to the Wizards.
-Before the injury, Van Gundy said he was trying to get Carter to relax and play like he had with previous teams rather than overthinking and deferring. Also, Van Gundy said he is trying to get Ryan Anderson back in the rotation after he did not play in the last two games.
-Jamal Crawford and a strong defense helped the Hawks take a 2-0 lead over the Celtics after getting swept by Boston last year. The Hawks are now on a two-game winning streak after dropping their previous four heading into tonight’s critical division showdown in Orlando. The Hawks are only 1/2 game behind the Magic.
-Despite all the huffing and puffing they seem to do on the sideline, Josh Smith and coach Mike Woodson actually have a close relationship that started when they both started with the Hawks, reports Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
-Ken Suguira of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Hubie Brown counts himself as a huge fan of the Hawks. The Hall of Fame coach warns though that Atlanta must continue to establish themselves as contenders throughout January and February.
-The beauty of the NBA schedule is that there is always another game. And as Zach wrote after last night’s game, they can make it all better with a big win tonight over the Hawks.
-Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post believes inserting Matt Barnes into the starting lineup a while back was a good idea. But it is clear now that it has not worked and Van Gundy will have to do some more tinkering to get the most effecting starting five.
-Orlando Pinstriped Post recounts Orlando’s “meltdown” last night and writes how the team played the most one-on-one basketball since the 2007 season under Brian Hill.
-Hoopinion analyzes the strange events that led to Atlanta’s win last night over Boston.
-Hawksdawg of Peachtree Hoops writes how the Hawks have found a way to win by finding “No One Way to Win.”