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Game preview: San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta Hawks

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On a quick turnaround after they beat the Lakers at home, the Spurs head east to take on Mike Budenholzer's Atlanta Hawks.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Atlanta Hawks

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Ga
December 12, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: FSSW Radio: 1200 AM WOAI

The rest of the Eastern Conference has caught up to the Atlanta Hawks this season, in one way or another.

At this time last season, Atlanta was 17-7. From that point on, the Hawks ran unimpeded throughout the  5season, securing the top seed in the conference. They were everything the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers were not - starless, under the radar and whipsmart passers.

Atlanta - known as "Spurs East" around some circles because of the similar style of play - are currently in the eighth seed through a fourth of the season. The offense has slipped a tad since then, scoring 2.8 points per 100 possessions fewer this season, and the defense has been average at best.

And, still, the makings of the Spurs are still there - the ball movement, balanced scoring and deliberate execution. Atlanta is sixth in total passes, third in assists per game, third in potential assists and second in points created by assists. Atlanta has seven players averaging double-figures this season, with Paul Millsap leading the team with 17.8 points.

Like last season, it doesn't seem like being a facsimile of the Spurs is enough to make a dent in what is a deeper and better conference. Millsap is posting career-best numbers across the board, operating as the do-it-all fulcrum for the Hawks. Al Horford is trudging along doing Al Horford type things and dominating both ends of the floor. Kyle Korver is still a terror away from the ball, and creating offense for Atlanta due to his gravitational pull and basketball IQ. Tiago Splitter, even though he's been limited by injuries and coming off the bench, is still keying an Atlanta defense that is allowing nearly 6 points per 100 possessions fewer when he's on the floor.

The last 10 meetings have been in favor of San Antonio, but Atlanta is poised to stretch the Spurs defense with its ball movement and potentially claim an important win at home.

Matchup to watch: Tim Duncan vs. Al Horford. This is a fun basketball matchup if you like the nitty gritty details of being an All-Star caliber big man in the NBA. Neither player makes many mistakes, filling in the gaps for their respective teams on a night-to-night basis. Horford has the benefit of time on his side, but Duncan is still crushing the league in his time this year.

San Antonio Spurs (19-5)

Atlanta Hawks (14-10)

December 12, 2015

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Ga

7:00 PM CST

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Jeff Teague

Danny Green

SG

Kyle Korver

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Thabo Sefolosha

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Paul Millsap

Tim Duncan

C

Al Horford

For the Hawks fans' perspective, visit Peach Tree Hoops.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.