Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks - 10/30/13
Atlanta Hawks (44-38) at Dallas Mavericks (41-41)
NBA Basketball: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 8:30 pm (American Airlines Center)
The Line: Dallas Mavericks -5 -- Over/Under: 197 See the Latest Odds
The Atlanta Hawks will be looking to start the season with a win tonight when they take on the Dallas Mavericks.
It's going to be great seeing Dirk Nowitzki finally back to full health after watching him limp his way through most of last season, but it will be more interesting watching the new backcourt duo of Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis. On paper, it just feels like the Mavs are miles from being contenders in the Western Conference, but there's so much to like about the potential of Ellis finally playing with a pass-first point guard in Calderon. Another addition to the Mavs' roster is Samuel Dalembert at the center position which looks like a nice fit, but other than Vince Carter and Devin Harris, the Mavs look seriously bereft of scoring talent on their bench.
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Meanwhile, the Hawks made one major offseason trade which I felt was long overdue. They said goodbye to Josh Smith who moved on to Detroit in exchange for Paul Millsap which pushes Al Horford to the center position. These moves don't exactly compare to what the Nets did in Brooklyn, but the Hawks were going nowhere with J-Smoove. With the much traditional looking lineup, Horford looks set to follow a career-best season with another, while Millsap should have a breakout season now that he is finally freed from the overcrowded Utah frontcourt. You can't quite say that this team is set to make some noise in the playoffs yet, but they have the foundation for what will be a solid team for years to come.
Both the Hawks and the Mavs have plenty to be excited about this season and I can't wait to see how it all pans out for these teams. However, with both teams sporting so many new players in the season opener, I can't really predict with much confidence how this game will go. I'm just going to stick with my gut and take the Mavs at home in this one. Sure, it's probably not smart to lay the points in the first game of the season, but I'm really excited about the Mavs' new backcourt and I think they'll hit the ground running in this one.