Spurs vs. Hawks preview: San Antonio faces beaten up Atlanta

Kevin C. Cox

The Spurs have struggled on the road as of late, but they will be facing a battered Hawks team on Saturday night that could be without two of their top three scorers in Al Horford and Lou Williams.

The San Antonio Spurs will once again be without Manu Ginobili on Saturday night, but it may not matter considering the Atlanta Hawks are nursing numerous key injuries of their own.

The Spurs have won three in a row and two straight without Ginobili, who is likely out another five to 10 days with a strained left hamstring. San Antonio has won 12 of their last 15 games overall, although most of those wins have come in the comfort of their home building. The Spurs have struggled on the road as of late, sporting just a 2-7 record in their last nine road games.

The Hawks have struggled in general in the new year, going just 3-7 in the month of January. One of those losses was a putrid 97-58 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, leaving head coach Larry Drew embarrassed and looking for answers. Atlanta's offense has been a huge problem all month, scoring over 100 points just three times.

Not helping matters for the Hawks are their recent injury woes. Al Horford missed Atlanta's 94-89 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night with a sore hamstring and calf, and Lou Williams had to leave the game in the second quarter because of a sprained right knee. If those two are unable to go, that's two of the Hawks' three top scorers sitting out against a high-scoring Spurs team. With the team already struggling to score to begin with, that's not a good recipe for success. Anthony Morrow (back) and DeShawn Stevenson (knee) will also be out for Atlanta.

One saving grace for the Hawks is that they have played well at home most of the year, sporting a 13-6 record overall at Philips Arena and a 2-1 record in January. Atlanta has gone over 100 points in two of those three games, including a 109-95 victory over the Nets on Wednesday. Jeff Teague had 28 points and 11 assists in the win, and he also notched a double-double in the rematch on Friday.

With Horford and Williams potentially out, Teague will need to have another big game if the Hawks are to have a chance against the Spurs. Considering the point guard will be going against the red-hot Tony Parker, that will be no easy task. Parker has been dynamite in 2013, averaging 20.7 points and 6.8 assists on 53.5 percent shooting. In the past five games his numbers are even better, with Parker posting averages of 23.2 points and 7.2 assists on 56.8 percent from the field.

Another match-up to watch if Horford cannot go is the one between Tim Duncan and Zaza Pachulia. The Hawks' big man is a capable defender and solid rebounder, but going against Duncan is always a challenge. And since Pachulia does not bring nearly as much punch offensively in the frontcourt, Josh Smith must pick up some of the slack. Smith has come under some heat lately for his poor decision making, and was recently suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. San Antonio has won 22 of the last 26 match-ups and dominated Atlanta 105-83 last year in a game where Ginobili sat out with a broken hand. The Spurs beat the Hawks 97-90 in their most recent trip to Philips Arena in 2011.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.

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