The last time the Atlanta Hawks played a game on Thanksgiving, President Barack Obama was 34 years old and winning a Grammy for the audio version of his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” according to the president’s biography.
Meanwhile, Atlanta was being led by Steve Smith and Mookie Blaylock.
Now, go ahead and fast-forward 14 years later, President Obama is our 44th President, and the Hawks are tied for the best record in the NBA because of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.
The Atlanta Hawks (11-3) are a perfect 7-0 at home this season, where the entrée will be the Orlando Magic (11-3) on Thursday night, followed by turkey for the main course, and for dessert, the best record in the NBA.
Could the NBA have planned their Thanksgiving any better?
Two of the three best teams in the league, who also happen to be in the same conference and same division, battle it out on Turkey Day to be the best team in the league.
Good thing it is on TNT, because they know drama, which is exactly what this game will be.
It is the first time that the two teams have played each other all season, and they do not play each other again until Jan. 9.
The Magic won the season series last year 3-1. The Hawks beat Orlando by 14 to open the season last year, but then Orlando won the final three games by an average of 14 points. Their second win over the Hawks last season was a 34-point blowout at Orlando.
Both teams have new looks to their rosters. For the Atlanta Hawks their new key addition is guard Jamal Crawford, while the Magic have brought in Vince Carter.
Crawford is the second-leading scorer for the Hawks with 16.7 points per game and Carter’s 18.7 points per game is good enough to lead the Magic.
Atlanta will have the benefit of playing on five days rest, while the Magic have to host the Miami Heat tonight and then fly out to Atlanta to start a three-game road tip that ends on Sunday at New York.
Atlanta will have to make sure and not let Carter get off to a fast start. Carter has led the Magic in scoring in four of Orlando’s last six games, including their last three and had a season-high 29 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 11.
The Thanksgiving Day matchup will also feature two of the premiere double-double players in the NBA. The Hawks’ Al Horford is scoring 13.7 points per game and pulling down 10.1 rebounds per game, and Dwight “Superman” Howard is averaging 11.1 rebounds per game to go with 17.4 points.
Howard is also the only Magic player to have played and started in all of Orlando’s 14 games.
The jump ball is at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, so if you are on the East Coast have dinner eaten and the dishes cleaned before then. For you central and West Coast time zones, better find a television set with some wheels.