The Hornets are coming off of a 3 point victory over the Charlotte Bobcats while the Hawks are coming off of a beating at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
Tip-off is scheduled for Tuesday, January 1st at 8:00 pm ET at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Odds are currently unavailable for this game. This in part could be due to Josh Smith's injury that held him out of action on Saturday. Smith and his well rested hip will be ready to go tonight. Expect the Hawks to be a small to moderate favorite in this game.
Welcome back Josh
Josh Smith was missed last night as James Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Marcus Morris made their game against Atlanta into a track meet in a 123-104 victory over the Hawks. Without the athleticism of Josh Smith, the Hawks weren't able to keep pace against the Rockets and were looking for the game to be over so they could start the New Year's Eve festivities.
The Hawks shot well, but were unable to stop Carlos Delfino off of the bench along with 40 rebounds, 30 assists, and 10 steals from the Rockets. Atlanta is hoping for a better time of it in facing the Hornets, who haven't found a perfect chemistry, although they have a lot of young talent.
Josh Smith is Atlanta's leading scorer at 16.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. The numbers don't really do Smith justice. He's a high flying power dunker with great athletic ability. Just watch an old tape of him in the All Star Slam Dunk Contest and you'll know that this player is a stud.
Previous to his injury, Smith was held to 2 of 12 shooting for 7 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks in a win over Cleveland. This should be a fast paced game. Look for Josh Smith's point total to increase dramatically.
What you see is what you get out of the big 250 pound Horford in his 5th season out of Florida. Horford is a technically sound basketball player that gives consistency in being able to snatch rebounds and put the ball in the hoop. He's rarely going to go for 40, but expect a solid 15 points and 9 rebounds out of Al Horford almost every single game.
In his last 5 games, Horford has shot very well; A sizzling 64.2% from the field to go along with 18.8 points and 10 rebounds. Look for more of the same out of Horford against Anthony Davis and a very inexperienced New Orleans Hornets team.
Point guard Greivis Vasquez has been playing the best basketball of his career as of late. He can do it all. Vasquez can shoot, pass, defend, pick pockets, and rebound. If you're looking for an undervalued fantasy player, Vasquez is at the top of the list. In his last 5 games, he's averaging 18.2 points, 8.4 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. He's also coming off of a 4 steal game in a win over Charlotte.
Atlanta won't have an answer in stopping this massive 6 foot 6 point guard. Vasquez is "feeling it" and look to see more of the same from him in this game and in 2013.
A super scorer
Shooting guard, Eric Gordon, has always been a big-time scorer. He's been plagued by injuries and hasn't been able to put it all together. Gordon played his 1st game of the season on December 29th and didn't disappoint. He had 24 points and 7 assists against Charlotte. This is a small sampling of what the NBA will see out of Gordon if he's healthy. Look for Gordon to be a difference maker against Atlanta if he get's the PT, which he should.
Atlanta is the more seasoned team and having Josh Smith back will make a huge difference in this game. That said, Eric Gordon has also returned to the New Orleans lineup and he's instant offense. If Gordon see's a lot of PT and he should, expect an inferior Hornets basketball squad to keep this game very close at home and possibly win.Free NBA picks: New Orleans (Hornets should be a small dog. Take the points) at 5Dimes