The Big Picture: I'm convinced the Atlanta Hawks are a sleeping giant in the Eastern Conference. They have two All Star-quality starters in Al Horford and Josh Smith, a well-above-average starter in Joe Johnson, a useful, if uninspiring, starter in Marvin Williams, scoring off the bench with Jamal Crawford, dirty work off the bench with Zaza Pachulia, and then a crap point guard situation.
If they could ever figure out their point guard situation, making either a big offensive or defensive upgrade, they'd suddenly move from middle of the pack to playoff threat.
Tonight, they're probably still smarting from a 117-83 loss to the Sixers on Tuesday, and the Bobcats are coming off two tough losses in winnable games. On the second half of a back-to-back, the bar is low for the Cats.
Musical Interlude: Mumford & Sons -- "The Cave"
Key to Victory: Horford is expected to miss this game, so if he is out, that's one fewer matchup issue the Cats have to contend with -- assuming, of course, that Boris Diaw, Kwame Brown, and Nazr Mohammed can match up with Pachulia and Jason Collins and whomever else the Hawks throw out there as a big.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Stephen Jackson's first season as a full-time starter in the NBA was with Atlanta, when he set the template for what he'd do, statistically, the rest of his career.