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Previewing the Atlanta Hawks: Q&A with Peachtree Hoops

@Kris_Willis of Peachtree Hoops helped us prepare for tonight's Mavs-Hawks showdown -- a repeat of the season opener.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1) Jeff Teague looks like he's pushing for an All-Star bid this year...any chance he makes the team?

Teague is certainly making his case early for the All-Star game. Injuries to guys like Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo also help his case. The Hawks will need to keep winning but Teague is quickly establishing himself as the team's most important player. Going into Wednesday's game against the Rockets, Atlanta is just 1-5 when Teague scores 15 points or less.

2) I love the Paul Millsap for Josh Smith flip for you guys and it's really paying dividends, but is it enough for Atlanta to play with the "big boys" of the conference in Indiana and Miami?

The easy answer is no. Millsap has fit in nicely with the Hawks and has given them an efficient option at the power forward. Horford and Millsap can give teams a lot of problems but the Hawks probably aren't talented enough to really challenge the Miami's or Indiana's in the East. However, Millsap's signing looks like one of the best values of the offseason.

3) I've always had a little bit of a mancrush on Kyle Korver and he's on a pretty incredibly streak right now. How great a fit has he been here in Atlanta?

I don't think there is a team in the league that couldn't use Kyle Korver on its roster. He is a perfect fit for Atlanta's offense and provides space for drives by Jeff Teague and room inside for Al Horford and Paul Millsap to operate. Teams have to account for Korver defensively and that puts a lot of pressure on defenses. He's not a great individual defender but he is better than advertised in a good team concept. Factor in his positive contributions off the court and he is a great fit for any roster not just Atlanta.

4) What's the most important match-up in this game?

If the first meeting is any indication the most important matchup for Atlanta is against Monta Ellis. Jeff Teague drew the assignment for the most part in the first game but wasn't very successful as Ellis scored 32 points on 17 attempts. The Hawks can't afford Ellis to score with that kind of efficiency and hope to scratch out a win.

5) The Mavericks took care of Atlanta in the season opener -- how should the Hawks gameplan change headed into this game?

I touched on this in the other question but the Hawks have to make Monta Ellis work offensively. Dirk Nowitzki is an all-time great and will get his so Atlanta cannot allow guys like Ellis or Jose Calderon to put up big nights offensively. Atlanta's defensive numbers have improved somewhat since the opener but they are still prone to lapses and that can be dangerous against a team with as many talented scorers like the Mavericks. I don't think this is a game that the Hawks can play from behind in and need to establish their pace and go on the attack early to have a chance.