Preview: Keys to Beat Hawks
By Ketrell Marshall and Matt Rochinski
January 22, 2013
KEY MATCHUP vs. JAZZ
Ramon Sessions vs. Kyle Korver
There’s no question Kemba Walker has been on a tear, particularly at home this season, and he is coming off a career-best 35-point performance on Monday against Houston. When the Bobcats have been at their best this season, the play of the backcourt has been the catalyst to their success. Walker leads the way, but the play of Ramon Sessions off the bench has provided a spark. Sessions is second on the team in scoring (14.3 points) and assists (4.0) and has gone to the free-throw line a team-best 233 times. He’s played some of his best basketball this season over the last five games, averaging 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists… With Lou Williams (knee) sidelined, the Hawks will rely on the impact of Kyle Korver off the bench. Korver totaled 14 points with three rebounds, two assists and two steals in a team-best 36 minutes off the bench in Monday’s 104-96 victory over Minnesota. He’s averaging 10.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists this season but has seen his scoring average increase to 12.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the last five… Whoever has a larger impact off the bench when Sessions and Korver take the court could be the key to coming out on top.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (10-31)
The Bobcats have had some tough outings as of late with the last three contests having been decided by six points or less… The Cats have found a temporary solution to their slow starts. In their last three outings, Charlotte has raised its first quarter points average to 26.0 compared to their 22.2 average on the season….Length and athleticism have been vital for the Bobcats and has earned them an average of 6.3 blocks, good enough for fifth in the NBA. Second-year center Bismack Biyombo leads the Cats in blocks (1.67) and is coming off the third seven-block game of his short career… The Bobcats boast a balanced scoring attack with five active players averaging double figures – Kemba Walker (17.9), Ramon Sessions (14.3), Ben Gordon (13.0), Gerald Henderson (12.9) and rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (10.2).
SCOUTING THE HAWKS (23-18)
The Atlanta Hawks have cooled down from their hot start to the season; losing eight of their last 12 games… Atlanta is very effective at moving the ball, leading to an average of 23.1 assists, ranking them fifth in the NBA… The Hawks have taken care of business behind the arc this season. They knock down an average of 8.7 treys, tied for fourth in the league, at a rate of 37.5 percent, good enough to rank them seventh in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage… The inside duo of Josh Smith and Al Horford has been effective for the Hawks this season, as they combine to average 31.9 points, 18.0 rebounds and 7.1 assists… Defensively, The Hawks showcase the sixth-ranked defense in points allowed (95.5). Atlanta does a good job of disrupting the offensive flow of their opponents swiping away 8.23 steals led by Jeff Teague (1.46), Josh Smith (1.32) and Devin Harris (1.04)… The Hawks have been battling injuries as of late and recently lost a key reserve in Louis Williams to a torn ACL.
Check out the Bobcats as they return to Time Warner Cable Arena® to take on the Hawks on January 23 at 7 p.m. You can catch the game on SportSouth or listen on WFNZ. As always, follow the live in-game chat by going to bobcats.com or downloading the Bobcats app on your smartphone.