The Atlanta Hawks closed 2014 out on a roll winning 16 of their last 18 games to climb within a half game of the Eastern Conference lead. They will open 2015 with a challenging three-game western road trip beginning Friday night with a matchup against the Utah Jazz.
To this point, the Hawks have passed nearly every test that has been thrown at them. They have been dominant at home and have held their own on the road as well. Atlanta has won four-straight away from Philips Arena and nine of their last 10 on the road overall.
The Hawks won the previous meeting between the two teams but had to come from behind late to do so. Atlanta defeated the Jazz 100-97 behind 30 points and 17 rebounds from former Jazz forward Paul Millsap.
The Jazz are 11-21 under first year coach Quin Snyder but have played much better of late winning five of their last seven games. Gordon Hayward has been on a tear of late averaging 21 points per game over the last five contests. He finished with 26 points for Utah in Tuesday's win over Minnesota. Atlanta was able to hold him in check for the most part in the first meeting as Hayward finished with just 11 points on 5-16 shooting.
Atlanta is expected to get Al Horford back in the lineup on Friday after he was a late scratch in Tuesday's win over the Cavaliers. Horford became ill during pre-game warmups and received treatment throughout Tuesday's game. He was back at practice on Thursday and is listed as "probable" against the Jazz.
DeMarre Carroll sat out Thursday's practice due to dehydration. He made the trip to Utah and is expected to play on Friday but he is listed as "questionable" on the team's injury report.
Game Date/Time: Friday January 2, 9 p.m. ET
Location: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM