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Charlotte Bobcats vs. Atlanta Hawks preview -- Game 7

Today's Tunes:

"Caffeinated Consciousness" - TV On The Radio

Game Overview: The Bobcats are a young team that struggles to put everything together on a single night: ball movement, defense, focus, rebounding and boxing out, shooting well and picking their spots effectively. When they do, things like convincingly beating the Knicks happens, but when they don't their lack of talent shines through, as it did in losses to the Heat, Magic and Cavaliers.

The Hawks are reeling from a triple-overtime loss to a Miami Heat squad that was without LeBron James. Oh, and Dwyane Wade. Yeah, it was bad. I caught much of the last four quarters and all of the overtime periods. The Hawks struggled defending the pick and roll with Jeff Teague and Josh Smith. Smith is a frustratingly good power forward who thinks he's a small forward. He can be efficient on offense in the paint, but will not hesitate to launch difficult long twos or threes. Horford is the star of the team, an extremely talented center, who relies on strong rebounding and post game to hurt teams inside, but often sees too few touches. There's also Joe Johnson, the overpaid aging shooting guard. He's yet to crash, but Johnson's not quite the player he once was. He can still launch bombs and play the iso-Joe way, but he seems to be less effective.

Tracy McGrady has been a good pickup for the Hawks as their sixth man, surprising many that even without his athleticism, he's still a strong shooter and passer. And the newest curiosity in the NBA comes to the Hawks from the D-League in Ivan Johnson. Johnson is a brute of a forward, strong as hell and fearless. More than a simple Reggie Evans, he showed he can shoot a little and has some pretty good court vision (though lacking touch on his passes, as Al Horford found out). However, it seems he fouls a good bit. Still, look for him off the bench: he's the scary dude with the grill.

Edit: Hey, Tyrus Thomas is back tonight!

Key Matchup: Boris Diaw vs. Al Horford - the Bobcats have been most successful when Boris Diaw can find space to traverse between the three point line and the paint, spacing defenders until they have to bring help defenders, which creates passing lanes on cuts or leaves shooters open, making for assists or hockey-style assists. If Diaw can be guarded one-on-one by Horford, then the Bobcats will have to rely solely on Augustin and Walker to find teammates for plays.

Fun Fact: Matt Carroll currently has the fifth-worst PER with -0.84. Ouch.