Ten Games to Watch... Before the All-Star Break

Ten Games to Watch... Before the All-Star Break

With so many intriguing storylines this season, Hawks.com wanted to provide a guide to the top-10 games to watch. Unfortunately, there were simply too many to narrow it down to just ten for the whole season. We found ten “can’t miss” match-ups before we got to the All-Star Break, so we decided to stop there and then release a second edition later this season.

Don’t worry, this isn’t just a list of games against the Heat, Lakers, Celtics and Magic. This list goes deeper into all the excitement that you can look forward to at the Highlight Factory and on the road this season.

Season Opener – Wednesday, October 27, 2010 – at Memphis Grizzlies

No more "it's only preseason" excuses. Dress rehearsal is over. It is time to see how the 2010-11 Hawks look once the lights get brighter.

There is one thing that is certain about Coach Drew's philosophies on both offense and defense: they require high energy and high effort to be successful. Moving from the preseason to the regular season should make the strategy more effective.

Add in the fact that the Grizzlies are a team that likes to get up and down the floor, and tonight's season opener should be an exciting game to watch, with plenty of dunks and highlights.

Sunday, November 7, 2010 – vs. Phoenix Suns

Three reasons this game shouldn't be missed.

  1. Two-time MVP Steve Nash is a unique player that dictates a style of play that you will not see again the rest of the season.
  2. Josh Childress returns to the Highlight Factory for the first time since the Hawks Game 6 win over the Celtics in the 2008 Playoffs.
  3. This is how last year's game ended - CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Monday, November 8, 2010 – at Orlando Magic

It is well documented that the Hawks have a tough time matching up against Dwight Howard and the rest of the Orlando Magic. This second night of a back-to-back should be a good early season barometer of the Hawks progress.

Saturday, November 20, 2010 – vs. Dallas Mavericks

Last season the Hawks got a big lift from tough road victory over the Mavs, only to suffer a dramatic loss at home later in the season thanks to a controversial play by Jason Kidd late in the game. Kidd's contact with Coach Woodson was labeled "crafty" by some and "cheap" by others, but what is certain is that it helped Dallas rally from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to eventually win in overtime. With a line-up that includes Kidd, Nowitzki, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler and former Hawk Jason Terry, this season's rematch could prove to be just as dramatic.

Monday, November 22, 2010 – vs. Boston Celtics

One of the biggest accomplishments of last year was the Hawks four-game sweep of the Celtics during the regular season. While many around the league try to downplay this rivalry, there is no denying that players on both sides get amped up when they line up against each other creating a playoff-like atmosphere. The Hawks will have to come with the same intensity they used last season if they want to extend their winning streak against the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 25, 2010 – vs. Washington Wizards

For the second straight season the Highlight Factory will host a game on Thanksgiving night in front of a national television audience. This year the Hawks will face the Washington Wizards and John Wall, the top pick from this summer's NBA Draft. In addition to Wall, the Wizards have added some interesting pieces to their lineup and should provide holiday entertainment for the whole family.

Saturday, December 4, 2010 – at Miami Heat

While the Heat lost their season opener in Boston last night, they are still the popular pick to at least make it to the finals, if not win the NBA Championship. The Hawks scored a nine point victory against Miami last week in the preseason and they will get their first crack at duplicating that feat when it counts as they travel south on December 4.

Friday, December 31, 2010 – at Oklahoma City Thunder

Last season served as a breakout season for Oklahoma City and their young star Kevin Durant. The Hawks had many memorable last-second victories at home last season, but the Thunder turned the table with a game winning dunk at the buzzer as part of the MLK Day game in Atlanta. OKC was the only team in the league that the Hawks failed to beat at least once last season, so their should be no lack of motivation for Atlanta to get a little payback.

Saturday, January 22, 2010 – at Charlotte Bobcats

The Hawks lost both games in Charlotte and were embarrassed by 33 points in the preseason finale. Using the "we just don't match-up well" excuse will not fly this season if the Hawks want to take the next step toward contending for a conference championship. This trip to Charlotte should be a good indication of how seriously the team is about stepping up to the challenge and finding ways to overcome "bad matchups".

Plus, just to add more motivation, "His Airness" Michael Jordan is likely to be in the house.

Friday, February 4, 2010 – vs. L.A. Clippers

The standings do not lie, the Clippers have been pretty bad for a while now. Don't look now but they have put together a roster that COULD be pretty competitive in the Western Conference. Their entire team is intriguing, but it is an individual that makes this a "Game to Watch". Blake Griffin missed all of last season with an injury, but looks to be 100 percent ready to bring his high-energy play to the Highlight Factory in February.