Atlanta Hawks 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

Joshua Carroll@JoshmaniiiCorrespondent IIJuly 29, 2012

Atlanta Hawks 2012-13 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

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    The Atlanta Hawks will embark on the post-Joe Johnson era when the 2012-2013 season begins, whether they like it or not. 

    A lot of questions face this newly assembled roster consisting of 2011 NBA champion DeShawn Stevenson, the streaky shooter Anthony Morrow and deadly scorer Lou Williams.

    But the question everyone wants to know the answer to is, "Is Josh Smith mature and good enough to become the new face of this franchise?"

    The Hawks will continue to try and move up in rank in the Eastern Conference. A task much harder without Johnson, and with other teams around the league getting stronger as Atlanta seemingly weakens.

    How will the Hawks fare without their superstar they had become so comfortable with? Will Smith crack under the pressure or pick off where he left off last season and do more than scratch the surface of being an All-Star?

    These questions and more will be answered throughout the season. 

    That being said, there is much more to look forward to this season for Hawks fans, including marquee matchups and a favorable schedule for a team who will take as much help as it can get.

November Schedule

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    -Friday, November 2 vs.Houston Rockets 

    -Sunday, November 4 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    -Wednesday, November 7 vs. Indiana Pacers

    -Friday, November 9 vs. Miami Heat

    -Sunday, November 11 @ Los Angeles Clippers 

    -Monday, November 12 @ Portland Trail Blazers

    -Wednesday, November 14 @ Golden State Warriors

    -Friday, November 16 @ Sacramento Kings

    -Monday, November 19 vs. Orlando Magic 

    -Wednesday, November 21 vs. Washington Wizards 

    -Friday, November 23 @ Charlotte Bobcats 

    -Saturday, November 24 vs. Los Angeles Clippers 

    -Wednesday, November 28 vs. Charlotte Bobcats

    -Friday, November 30 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Key November Games

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    Friday, November 2 vs. Houston Rockets 

    The first game of the season is important for every team.

    Especially for a team like the Hawks, who don't know exactly where they stand or what to expect for the year. 

    Taking down Jeremy Lin and the Rockets won't be the toughest task in the world, as they too look to develop chemistry among their new roster. 

    A great opportunity for the Hawks to get off to a good start.

    Sunday, November 4 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    It won't take long for the Hawks to have their first test against a contender. In particular, the Western Conference champions.

    Personally, I don't expect the Hawks to win this game, which is in Oklahoma City I might add. 

    But it will quickly remind them how much they need to improve over the course of the season in order to have hopes of competing for an NBA championship in the near future.

    Friday, November 9 vs. Miami Heat

    Only five days later the Hawks will host the 2012 NBA champions as they quest for another ring. 

    Nevertheless, Atlanta always seems to put together a good game against Miami. But, the loss of Joe Johnson's firepower will really show here against a team loaded with weapons.

    November W-L Prediction: 7-7

    Wins: Rockets, Warriors, Magic, Wizards, Bobcats, Bobcats and Cavaliers

    Losses: Thunder, Pacers, Heat, Clippers, Trailblazers, Kings and Clippers

Preview and Predictions for November

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of November

    Two of the most athletic players in the game today, Josh Smith and LeBron James, will go at it on November 9th—very early in the season. 

    Smith, a guy who feels as though he was mistakenly left off the All-Star team, will look to use this opportunity to showcase his skills.

    James, usually much bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic than he who is defending him, will not find this to be the case against Smith. 

    Surely, these two will meet in the air more than once and compete like two superstars should, despite it being so early in the season.

    Hawks' Best-Case Scenario for November

    Josh Smith shows why he has believed all along that he is an All-Star. He attacks the basket relentlessly every game, plays great defense, and becomes the new face of the Hawks franchise. 

    Atlanta takes down some marquee opponents, while beating the teams they should, on the way to a 11-3 start and seemingly don't miss a beat despite the loss of Joe Johnson.

    Hawks' Worst-Case Scenario for November

    The loss of Joe Johnson is simply too much to overcome. The Hawks struggle, dropping games to the likes of the Charlotte Bobcats along the way and don't even look like a playoff team.

    Josh Smith again begins to settle for jump shots instead of attacking the basket and the new acquisitions of Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson come off as horrible, considering there is nobody who can create open shots for them.  

    Atlanta gets off to a 4-10 start.

December Schedule

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    -Wednesday, December 5 vs. Denver Nuggets

    -Friday, December 7 vs. Washington Wizards

    -Saturday, December 8 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    -Monday, December 10 @ Miami Heat 

    -Wednesday, December 12 @ Orlando Magic

    -Thursday, December 13 vs. Charlotte Bobcats

    -Saturday, December 15 vs. Golden State Warriors

    -Tuesday, December 18 @ Washington Wizards 

    -Wednesday, December 19 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    -Friday, December 21 @ Philadelphia 76ers

    -Saturday, December 22 vs. Chicago Bulls

    -Wednesday, December 26 vs. Detroit Pistons

    -Friday, December 28 @ Cleveland Cavaliers

    -Saturday, December 29 vs. Indiana Pacers

    -Monday, December 31 @ Houston Rockets

Key December Games

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    Monday, December 10 @ Miami Heat

    About a month removed from their last meeting, the Hawks will travel to Miami and try to take down the champs on their home court. A task easier said than done. 

    Nevertheless, the Hawks will be presented with yet another opportunity to prove how far they have come as a team thus far. 

    Wednesday, December 19 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    Nine days later, Atlanta will host the Hawks. Seems like they can't get a break. That's the NBA for you.

    Thankfully for the Hawks, they don't have to travel to Oklahoma for this one. 

    However, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will still be present at tip-off.

    Saturday, December 22 vs. Chicago Bulls

    Every game the Hawks have against the Bulls with Derrick Rose out is of importance. Simply because I think it's safe to say the Bulls are much harder team to beat when he's on the floor. 

    That being said, the Bulls are no scrubs and the Hawks can't make the mistake of dropping a game to them because they didn't take them seriously.

    Saturday, December 29 vs. Indiana Pacers

    The Indiana Pacers surpassed the Atlanta Hawks last year in the Eastern Conference. 

    Now, the Hawks must continue to try and pry themselves out of the middle of the standings. Like the Pacers did. 

    Before they can deal with the Heat and Celtics, they must first go through the Pacers—a young team on the rise.

    December W-L Prediction: 7-8

    Wins: Wizards, Magic, Bobcats, Wizards, Bulls, Pistons and Rockets

    Loses: Nuggets, Grizzles, Heat, Warriors, Thunder, 76ers, Pacers and Cavaliers

Preview and Predictions for December

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of December

    Could have easily went with Josh Smith vs. either LeBron James or Kevin Durant here. 

    But instead, I'm more anxious to see Chris Bosh and Al Horford go at it. 

    With Bosh playing a lot more 5 for the Heat, he will look to draw Horford out and beat him off the dribble and with speed and finesse. 

    On the other side of things, Horford will look to bang with Bosh down low and get him in foul trouble.

    Two guys with contrasting games always makes for a good matchup. Especially between two very talented big guys.

    Hawks' Best-Case Scenario for December

    The December schedule is quite favorable for the Hawks. They have the opportunity to keep rolling by beating the teams they should, and even pulling out a shocking win every now and then against a contender.

    Atlanta finds their groove, and guys like Lou Williams find their roles with their new team. The Hawks really start rolling and looking like they can still hang with the big boys, despite losing their big star. 

    Hawks' Worst-Case Scenario for December

    Atlanta drops games to mediocre teams they should be able to beat and begin to question whether or not they have enough to even make the playoffs in a league getting more talented by the second. 

    We start to hear trade rumors that begin to distract the team and things continue to roll downhill for the Hawks.

January Schedule

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    -Tuesday, January 1 @ New Orleans Hornets 

    -Friday, January 4 @ Detroit Pistions

    -Saturday, January 5 vs. Boston Celtics

    -Tuesday, January 8 @ Minnesota Timberwolves 

    -Wednesday, January 9 @ Cleveland Cavaliers

    -Friday, January 11 vs. Utah Jazz

    -Saturday, January 12 @ Washington Wizards

    -Monday, January 14 @ Chicago Bulls

    -Wednesday, January 16 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    -Friday, January 18 @ Brooklyn Nets

    -Saturday, January 19 vs. San Antonio Spurs

    -Monday, January 21 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    -Wednesday, January 23 @ Charlotte Bobcats 

    -Friday, January 25 vs. Boston Celtics 

    -Sunday, January 27 @ New York Knicks 

    -Wednesday, January 30 vs. Toronto Raptors

Key January Games

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    Tuesday, January 1 @ New Orleans Hornets

    The Hawks will finally get their first look at Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon—a young core that hopes to develop into quite a formidable big three. 

    Saturday, January 5 vs. Boston Celtics

    The new and improved Boston Celtics are primed and ready to compete for an NBA championship. Although they lost a key piece in Ray Allen, they reloaded quite nicely by adding Jason Terry and drafting Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo. 

    Not to mention, back on the court for Boston will be Avery Bradley and Jeff Green. 

    Atlanta will try to down this talented roster in front of a home crowd 

    Wednesday, January 16 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    Should be very interesting to see how Joe Johnson is welcomed when he returns to Atlanta with his new team. 

    Surely, the Hawks will want to take down Johnson and the Nets, feeling as though he left them for the prettier, richer girlfriend. 

    But Deron Williams will have something to say about that. He will be a very tough defensive assignment for Teague.

    Friday, January 18 @ Brooklyn Nets

    No matter the result of the January 16th meeting, the other team will get a chance for revenge only two days later.

    But this time, in Brooklyn's sporty stadium.

    Sunday, January 27 @ New York Knicks 

    The Big Apple will be calling Atlanta's name on January 27th. 

    These matchups are always important considering these two teams will once again be jousting for playoff seedings. 

    January W-L Prediction: 9-8

    Wins: Pistons, Cavaliers, Jazz, Bulls, Nets, Spurs, Bobcats, Timberwolves and Raptors

    Loses: Hornets, Celtics, Timberwolves, Wizards, Nets, Celtics, Celtics and Knicks

Preview and Predictions for January Schedule

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of January

    When the Hawks face Joe Johnson for the first time, there is no doubt they will be feeling the pressure. In particular, Lou Williams will be looked at to make up for the scoring Johnson took with him, whether Williams starts or not. 

    That being said, the matchup between Williams and Johnson will be a good one, as Johnson tries to prove himself against his old squad, and Williams attempts to convey the message that they no longer need him. 

    Hawks' Best-Case Scenario for January

    Heading into the All-Star break right around the corner, the Hawks build some momentum. Atlanta plays nine games against teams who did not make the playoffs last year. 

    The Hawks would proceed to not only win the games they should, but also take down a team like the Celtics and even get the best of Brooklyn on their home floor.

    Hawks' Worst-Case Scenario for January

    The Hawks come out of January with a record under .500. At this point, the Hawks are already talking free agency plans before we even reach the All-Star break. 

    No ifs, ands, or buts about it. The loss of Joe Johnson was just too much to overcome and the new pieces brought along do not suffice.

February Schedule

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    -Saturday, February 2 vs. Chicago Bulls

    -Tuesday, February 5 @ Indiana Pacers

    -Wednesday, February 6 vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    -Friday, February 8 vs. New Orleans Hornets

    -Monday, February 11 @ Dallas Mavericks

    -Wednesday, February 13 @ Orlando Magic 

    -Wednesday, February 20 vs. Miami Heat

    -Friday, February 22 vs. Sacramento Kings

    -Saturday, February 23 @ Milwaukee Bucks

    -Monday, February 25 @ Detroit Pistons

    -Wednesday, February 27 @ Utah Jazz 

Key February Games

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    Saturday, February 2 vs. Chicago Bulls

    Bulls fans would love to see Derrick Rose back out on the court by this time, but that's not looking too likely.

    Therefore, this is another important game for the Hawks. Especially since the next time they see Chicago, Rose will probably be back out there for the Bulls. 

    Wednesday, February 20 vs. Miami Heat

    A chance for the Hawks to see where they stand as the season nears its end. How will they fare against the defending champions? 

    They must take this opportunity to show Atlanta fans there is hope and a future for this franchise.

    February W-L Prediction: 6-5

    Wins: Hornets, Mavericks, Magic, Kings, Bucks and Jazz

    Loses: Bulls, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat and Pistons

Preview and Predictions for February Schedule

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of February

    Austin Rivers will look to have an immediate impact with the New Orleans Hornets as he teams up with the No. 1 pick, Anthony Davis. 

    A lot of great things are expected from Rivers, and a player I can't wait to see him match up with is Jeff Teague. 

    Both very speedy players, Teague, somewhat of a defensive specialist against Rivers, a crafty guard with nasty handles. 

    One will have to get the best of the other, but I'd advise you not to be too quick to bet against Teague.

    Hawks' Best-Case Scenario for February

    With this short month where the Hawks will play only one real contender, Atlanta rolls through with ease. It seems as though they have really figured things out. 

    Josh Smith is playing the best basketball of his career and selected as an All-Star, which only makes him want to work harder and feel as though his hard work has finally paid off.

    Hawks' Worst-Case Scenario for February

    Not only do the Hawks go on a horrid losing streak against teams that won't even make the playoffs, but rumors begin to swirl about the firing of the coach and a whole new start for the Hawks in 2013 free agency.

    Hawks fans are convinced it can't get any worse and start attending Clipper games in order to convince Chris Paul that Atlanta should be his new home next year.

March Schedule

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    -Friday, March 1 @ Phoenix Suns 

    -Sunday, March 3 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    -Monday, March 4 @ Denver Nuggets 

    -Wednesday, March 6 vs. Philadelphia 76ers

    -Friday, March 8 @ Boston Celtics

    -Saturday, March 9 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    -Tuesday, March 12 @ Miami Heat

    -Wednesday, March 13 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    -Friday, March 15 vs. Phoenix Suns

    -Sunday, March 17 @ Brooklyn Nets

    -Monday, March 18 vs. Dallas Mavericks 

    -Wednesday, March 20 vs. Milwaukee Bucks 

    -Friday, March 22 vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    -Sunday, March 24 @ Milwaukee Bucks

    -Monday, March 25 @ Indiana Pacers 

    -Wednesday, March 27 @ Toronto Raptors 

    -Friday, March 29 @ Boston Celtics 

    -Saturday, March 30 vs. Orlando Magic 

Key March Games

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    Sunday, March 3 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    Los Angeles, likely contenders for the 2012-2013 NBA championship, will host the Hawks at the beginning of March.

    With the season winding down, this would be the perfect opportunity for a team like the Hawks to steal some wins over quality opponents—starting with the Lakers.

    Friday, March 8 @ Boston Celtics

    If the Hawks didn't see enough championship banners hanging in Staples early in the week, they will be visiting the TD Garden five days later. 

    Playing in these two venues should serve as a reminder of what everyone is playing for.

    Saturday, March 9 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    Joe Johnson returns again, with Brooklyn blood running completely through his veins at this point. 

    With time to develop chemistry with his new team, beating the Nets will be a much harder feat this time around.

    Tuesday, March 12 @ Miami Heat

    Things just keep getting better for the Hawks, right? This matchup speaks for itself.

    Sunday, March 17 @ Brooklyn Nets

    This will be the last meeting of the regular season between the Nets and the Hawks. It's likely to be a very intense and interesting game to closeout this series. 

    March W-L Prediction: 8-10

    Wins: Suns, Nuggets, 76ers, Mavericks, Bucks, Blazers, Raptors and Celtics

    Loses: Lakers, Celtics, Nets, Heat, Lakers, Suns, Nets, Bucks, Pacers and Magic

Preview and Predictions for March Schedule

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of March

    Personally, I'm pretty excited to see Ivan Johnson and Metta World Peace go at it. That's a lot of crazy on one court. 

    But, on a more serious note, the matchup between Al Horford and Andrew Bynum is always one to look forward to. 

    Horford, a little undersized for the center position, is strong enough to guard Bynum very well and make him work. 

    Bynum doesn't get that many challenges in such a guard-dominated league, but he will get a battle with Horford.

    Hawks' Best-Case Scenario for March

    With the playoffs right around the corner, everyone is healthy and the Hawks are playing decent basketball. Not great, but nowhere near bad. 

    They are sitting comfortably at the No. 4 or 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, don't have to worry about seeing the Heat or Celtics in the first round, and are feeling good about themselves in their first year of the post-Johnson era. 

    Hawks' Worst-Case Scenario for March

    The season has now turned into a disaster. The Hawks are slowly but surely falling out of playoff contention. 

    Yet, Smith continues to be the only bright side for Atlanta.

April Schedule

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    -Monday, April 1 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

    -Wednesday, April 3 vs. New York Knicks

    -Friday, April 5 vs. Philadelphia 76ers 

    -Saturday, April 6 @ San Antonio Spurs 

    -Wednesday, April 10 @ Philadelphia 76ers

    -Friday, April 12 vs. Milwaukee Bucks 

    -Tuesday, April 16 vs. Toronto Raptors

    -Wednesday, April 17 @ New York Knicks 

April Key Games

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    Wednesday, April 3 vs. New York Knicks

    Who knows what to expect from the New York Knicks this season. It's very hard to predict what type of season they will have. 

    Nevertheless, by this time in the season things in the regular season are just about all said and done. 

    Yet, I expect the Knicks and Hawks to still be jockeying for position. 

    This will be a key game for both teams, especially the Hawks who want as easy of a first round as possible. If they make the playoffs at all, that is.

    April W-L Prediction: 5-3

    Wins: Cavaliers, Knicks, Spurs, 76ers, Raptors

    Loses: 76ers, Bucks, Knicks

Preview and Predictions for April Schedule

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of April

    At this point in the season, I expect Josh Smith to have come a very, very long way. Both maturity and skill-wise. 

    His final test will be against Carmelo Anthony, one of the best scorers we have in the league today. Though Melo will test him more on the offensive end than on the defensive. 

    Melo and Smith going at it head to head will give it that playoff intensity feel as us fans prepare ourselves for the real thing only a few weeks later. 

    Hawks' Best-Case Scenario for April

    Atlanta finishes strong and goes into the playoffs feeling unstoppable, despite their seeding. 

    Josh Smith is primed and ready to lead his squad into battle. 

    Hawks' Worst-Case Scenario for April

    Needless to say, the Hawks miss the playoffs and are sent home packing after a loss to the Knicks. 

    "Rebuild" is the word for the offseason and Atlanta fans are left hoping for big changes in the offseason, once again.

Final Predictions

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    Final Record: 42-40

    This will be yet another average season for the Atlanta Hawks, as they finish with the sixth seed and end the season with a first-round playoff exit.

    However, this season will be seen as a success much more than the other ones, in light of the fact that the Hawks maintained some type of relevance without Joe Johnson. 

    Now, with both Johnson's and Marvin Williams' contract out of the way, the Hawks will be able to go after some superstar talent. This is music to Josh Smith's ears.

    Josh Smith will continue to silence his critics and develop into Atlanta's leader smoothly, like only J-Smooth can. 

    It will take some time for this team to come into its own, but like always, the Hawks are still a couple of pieces away from taking that next step and contending for an NBA championship. 

    As a result, Atlanta management and fans alike will hope to nab those pieces in the 2013 offseason while continuing to move forward and far away from the Johnson-era and into the Smith one.