The Hawks are about to embark on a six game Western Conference road trip. Here are five things you should watch for during this six game trip out west:
- Elton Brand
The timetable for Pero Antic’s return to the lineup is unclear. He suffered a sprained ankle in Saturday’s win versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. The injury did not appear to be one in which Antic will miss significant time, but he will probably miss the next couple games. Regardless of whether Pero returns or not, expect an increased role for Brand throughout this road trip. I am excited to see what Brand can do and I believe that fans will get a nice peak at what Brand can offer the Hawks come playoff time.
- Fast Paced, Beautiful Basketball
The Hawks play basketball in such a beautiful, unselfish manner. They have shown the ability to change the pace of the game and slow it down if need be. However, the Hawks are at their best when they are playing up-tempo and running in transition. All six of these teams the Hawks play on this road trip are teams that love to push the pace of play. Expect to see a high volume of transition threes from Korver and some wild dunks from Mike Scott and Kent Bazemore.
- Dennis Schroder to Continue His Great Play
I have written a lot on Schroder and love the way he plays. His fearlessness when attacking the basket and natural feel for passing the basketball has made him a spectacle to watch on a nightly basis. In his four March appearances, Schroder is averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 assists per game off the bench. His minutes are going up as well. I expect this trend to continue. His game is at its best so far this season and with the season getting closer to its end I expect the whole bench to get a lot more minutes on this trip.
- Hawks vs. Warriors
On March 18th, the league’s two best teams match up again. This time it will take place at Oracle Arena, the home of the Warriors. On February 6th, the Hawks beat the Warriors 124-116 at home. The game was great to watch and well played by both sides. The Hawks, even with recent wins over both Golden State and Cleveland, still have many doubters that they are serious contenders for the NBA Championship. A win over the Warriors in Oracle Arena would definitely make all these doubters step back and rethink. I expect a game that is high scoring and down to the wire and of course, a Hawks victory.
- Russell Westbrook
For those people who have not turned on their televisions in the last month, this Westbrook guy is pretty good. Actually he is not just pretty good, he is must see television. Westbrook has averaged over 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists per game in his last 10 games. The only other players to put those type of numbers up over 10 games are Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. He is an absolute thrill to watch run up and down the court faster than you can move your head. Whether you are a fan or not, you should watch this game for Russell Westbrook.