The Atlanta Hawks travel to face the Milwaukee Bucks in what should be a tough game for the Hawks considering their current situation. Atlanta just lost their starting point guard Jeff Teague for at least two games after he suffered an ankle injury in the blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs Friday night. His absence means that the Hawks might possibly be without four players against the Bucks on Saturday night if DeMarre Carroll is unable to play as well. Milwaukee may be the worst team in the NBA, but any time a team suffers four injuries to key players this makes winning games a lot more challenging. In order to win this game, Atlanta will need all of their players to step up.
Shelvin Mack will get the start at point guard in place of Teague, and his play might be the difference between winning and losing this game. Mack is more than capable of running the offense as evidenced by his play so far this season with the Hawks. In limited minutes as the backup point guard, Mack gives the Hawks 3.5 assists per game, which is good for second on the team behind only Teague. However, in the win over the Miami Heat a couple of games ago, Mack really proved why he can be the guy to step in and fill the void. Teague couldn’t get anything going against the Heat as coach Mike Budenholzer was forced to bench him after 20 minutes of action. Mack stepped right in for the Hawks off the bench and provided the team with the leadership needed to pull out the win from the point guard position. He scored 13 points and dished out seven assists in 27 minutes in order to guide Atlanta to a huge victory over Miami.
Lou Williams is another player who must pick up his production for the Hawks. Recently, he’s been in a bit of a slump offensively and will need to break out soon if he wants to see his team win more games. This season he’s only averaging 9.3 points per game, which is way lower than his scoring average from a year ago. If he can get back to around the 14.1 points per game he averaged last season, the Hawks should be fine while Teague and the rest of the Hawks recover from their injuries. However, if he fails to produce, the Hawks could be in for a rough stretch starting tonight with the Bucks.
Mack and Williams are the most important pieces for the Hawks as the season goes on with all the injuries that have occurred. However, it will take a total team effort in order for Atlanta to be able to beat teams such as Milwaukee while all these key players sit out.