Shootaround: Is ATL for real?

Los Angeles Clippers (8-4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (7-4)
7 p.m.

The Clippers lost last night to the Nets, getting "overrated" chants rained down upon them from the hipster-y crowd in Brooklyn.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images/ZimbioLos Angeles is most likely not overrated. This team is very very good and very very deep. The Clippers are not going away any time soon even with a disappointing start to their East Coast trip.

Atlanta might be a step down from Brooklyn. Perception-wise it certainly is.

The Hawks are trying to show they did not take the step back many felt they did when they traded Joe Johnson. At 7-4 and second in the Southeast Division, Atlanta is surprising many. This is especially since Josh Smith is struggling to score. Al Horford though has picked up the slack for the Hawks. He has returned to his All-Star form and had a superb game last night against Charlotte.

Atlanta will need more of that to compete with Blake Griffin and company tonight.

The Clippers have the size to give the Hawks fits. Smith needs to play well against Griffin to help counteract the advantage Los Angeles has with Chris Paul. The Chris Paul-Jeff Teague matchup will be interesting as a measuring stick for Teague. But the Hawks do not appear to be in the same class as the Clippers.

Los Angeles is one of the best teams in the league despite that struggling loss in Brooklyn earlier this week. 

Other Storylines to Watch

-Chauncey Billups is close to a retrun from the ruptured Achilles he suffered last February. The veteran point guard is targeting a return in early December. Adding Billups would make a deep Clippers team even deeper with Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe already providing some nice punch off the bench.

-The Hawks will be facing Jamal Crawford who had a successful year in Atlanta that helped him get a deal in Portland last offseason. Crawford's sixth man legend really began in Atlanta and he appears to be playing at the same level as he did back in those days.

Tonight's Other Games

Oklahoma City Thunder (9-4) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7-5)
7 p.m.

Be on the lookout: Jessica Camerato asked Russell Westbrook if he plans on debuting any new fashion trends. Westbrook responded that something new might be in the works. If those lens-less glasses do not work for you, there will be a new fashion trend to look quizically at.

Charlotte Bobcats (6-5) vs. Washington Wizards (0-10)
7 p.m.

There was a time when this was not a game anyone would even consider watching. It still might be considering Washington is still winless. But Charlotte is not so bad anymore. The Bobcats took a difficult loss in Atlanta last night, but Kemba Walker is emerging into a true star.

Cleveland Cavaliers (3-9) vs. Miami Heat (9-3)
7:30 p.m.

LeBron James was pretty low after the Heat lost to the Mavericks in the Finals two years ago. James though transformed his game some when he visited Hakeem Olajuwon and learned some post moves. Olajuwon spoke to HoopsWorld earlier this week and he said James' work with him in the post has helped get him serious and transform his game.

Los Angeles Lakers (6-7) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7-6)
8:30 p.m.

The Lakers appear to be in the market for some type of free agent signing, particularly on the wing. Los Angeles needs to get more shooting on the perimeter to support the Mike D'Antoni offense. The Lakers are thinking about Raja Bell and appear to be adding Mickael Pietrus to the list of potential free agents.

Chicago Bulls (5-6) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (6-4)
9 p.m.

Ersan Ilyasova was one of Milwaukee's big free agent signings this summer after a career year that saw him almost win the league's Most Improved Player Award. But so far this season, Ilyasova is struggling shooting 31.3 percent from the floor and averaging only 6.3 points per game. Scott Skiles is trying to figure out how to get Ilyasova going.

Utah Jazz (7-6) vs. Sacramento Kings (3-9)
10 p.m./NBATV

Yesterday, the Jazz eked out a win over the Kings thanks to a big performance from Gordon Hayward. What will happen in the return trip tonight? NBATV will be there for the Jimmer Fredette love-fest that is Jazz vs. Kings.

Minnesota Timberwolves (5-6) vs. Golden state Warriors (7-6)
10:30 p.m.

Kevin Love got his official welcome back to the NBA moment yesterday when he had a small dust-up with LaMarcus Aldridge. Love's Wolves are 0-2 since his return but is playing at his usual All-Star levels.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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