Atlanta Hawks vs Portland Trail Blazers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Moda Center in Portland, OR

When: Saturday, January 26th, 10:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBC Sports Northwest, Fox Sports Southwest | Rip City Radio 620

Atlanta Hawks (Away)

Head Coach: Lloyd Pierce {All-Time 47-15 | ATL}

The Atlanta Hawks are close to the basement of the NBA’s Eastern Conference. With a record of 15-31, they sit twelfth in the conference with little potential for movement either way. The also maintain a point differential of -7.6, further confirming their struggles.

For what it is worth, the Hawks have been performing slightly better as of late. With a record of 4-6, the Atlanta Hawks have taken wins from the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Look no further than the brilliant performances of second-year forward John Collins in order to understand their successes.

The Hawks take on a very strong Portland team that sits third in the Western Conference. It will be their second game of a massive seven game road trip. To come out of have a positive winning record out of the trip would be massive for the young Hawks. But they will have to deal with the two-pronged attack of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard and the inside presence of Jusuf Nurkic.

Portland Trail Blazers (Home)

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time 416-408 | ATL, MIL, POR}

The Portland Trail Blazers are doing their best to crack the top three of the Western Conference. With a record of 29-20 and a point differential of 2.3, the Blazers are defeating their competition with certainty.

The Trail Blazers will take on the Atlanta Hawks in a comfortable return home after a short three game road trip. The Blazers oncoming home stand will last four games and begin another road trip before All-Star Break. The Moda Center has been a fortress for the Blazers, as they have gone 20-7.

The Hawks are one of the weaker teams in the NBA but they have weapons that can trouble the Portland Trail Blazers. With the combination shooting of Young and Huerter mixed with the diversity of young forward John Collins, the Hawks can attack the Blazers from anywhere on the court. The Blazers will have to take advantage of the young Hawks zealousness on the court and punish them in transition, contrary to their 18th ranked pace, in order to take home another home win.

What’s At Stake?

The Atlanta Hawks and the Portland Trail Blazers are two of the older franchises in NBA history. They also share quite a close all-time series, with the Atlanta Hawks leading the Portland Trail Blazers 57-55.

With the current deficit between the Hawks and the teams above and below them in the standings, a win or a loss would do nothing to move Atlanta in the standings.

A win for the Blazers would bring them within half a game of overtaking the Thunder for third in the Western Conference.

Questions to answer

Is John Collins the one to lead the Hawks?

Is there a reason the Blazers win and lose so spectacularly?

We are going to compare the Atlanta Hawks and the Portland Trail Blazers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Hawks are a Net -0.7 with Collins

Now take the rating for what it is worth, the Hawks don’t have a great place to start from. However John Collins, since he had returned to the lineup in November, has been huge for the Atlanta Hawks. He is a young athletic big who’s hustle and work rate are great starting points for his development.

When the Hawks present a lineup with Collins, Young, and Huerter, they are a net positive on the court. Considering the Hawks have almost twice as many losses as they have wins, that is a great sign for the team and their core young pieces.

Collins in particular has been a monster for the Hawks on the offensive glass. He is able to generate extra possessions for Atlanta, acquiring 1/8 of the Hawks’ missed shots. The only detractor of that effort is that it opens up their opponent to transition opportunities, of which the Hawks are last in the league. Considering the Hawks aren’t getting into the playoff picture soon, it is positive that they have so many promising assets.

The Blazers Season Has Been Full of Inconsistency

The Portland Trail Blazers were able to pull off an impressive win against the Utah Jazz, that was followed by a disappointing loss to Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The question is, why are the Trail Blazers capable of such highs and such lows?

The Blazers are an excellent squad, filled with excellent offensive talent and diverse defensive options. While nobody on their squad is MVP-calibre, they are able to battle as a team that overcomes their lack of singular MVP-type talent. Their short-comings are similar to those of the Toronto Raptors in past seasons, as they have consistent shortcomings that they have not addressed and come back to haunt them in games.

For one, the Blazers struggle to defend motion oriented teams and catch up to players coming off of screens. Their defence isn’t the most stout in the NBA by any means. Compounded on that problem is that the Blazers tend to go guard heavy when they are behind, leading them get dominated on the inside. The Blazers problems are solvable, but they need to recognize them quickly if they don’t want a repeat of the 2018 playoffs.

Atlanta Hawks Roster Notes

G-F Kent Bazemore – Out (Ankle) – There is no timetable for Bazemore’s return, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

G Kevin Huerter – Day To Day (Sore Neck) – Huerter did not play in Wednesday’s game (Jan. 23) against the Bulls.

C Miles Plumlee – Out (Knee) – The Hawks announced that Plumlee had a procedure on his left knee and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

The Portland Trail Blazers have no injuries to report.

Head-to-Head: John Collins vs Al-Farouq Aminu

John Collins

Power Forward | 6-10, 235lb (208cm, 106kg) | Wake Forest | Exp. 2 Years

19.3 PPG | 2.4 APG | 10.3 RPG | 0.3 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.2 TOV | .591 FG% | .375 3P%

Al-Farouq Aminu

Power Forward | 6-9, 220lb (206cm, 99kg) | Wake Forest | Exp. 9 Years

9.5 PPG | 1.2 APG | 8.2 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 0.8 TOV | .427 FG% | .346 3P%

This game’s key head-to-head is between two athletic power forwards that fulfill very different roles for their team. Collins is an energy scorer while Aminu is hard-nosed switch oriented defender for the Blazers. While their contributions will be separate from each other, their matchup will be key in limiting/promoting their respective teams production.

John Collins is having an all-star like season. He has been incredible for the Hawks in his second season since he returned to the lineup in November. Once projected to be an energy player only, he has expanded his game to include shooting from range. Three-point range in particular, where he has been shooting 57% (15-26) in January.

Nigerian forward Al-Farouq Aminu is integral to the success of the Portland Trail Blazers. While he doesn’t fill up the stat sheet, it is his movement on the offensive end as well as his switchability on the defensive end that helps to not compromise the Blazers less capable defenders. Against Collins, he will be tasked with slowing the dynamic power forward while acting as a stretch option to keep the young shot blocker out of the paint.

Atlanta Hawks at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Portland Trail Blazers favoured over the Atlanta Hawks by 11.5, with an over/under of 110.