The Atlanta Hawks continue their homestand on Wednesday night with a battle against the Brooklyn Nets. As you likely know by this point, the Hawks have not lost a game in quite some time, as Atlanta holds the league's longest winning streak (by a wide margin) with 16 consecutive victories. When a streak is that lengthy, every game feels enormous, and that is certainly the case for this particular match-up at Philips Arena.
Brooklyn enters this game amid unusual circumstances, as their "tune-up" effort, scheduled for Monday, was postponed due to snowy conditions in New York. That means that the Nets have not seen the floor for a competitive game since Saturday in Utah, where they lost by 35 points, so it is difficult to project what we are likely to see from the Nets, especially when considering that they had altered travel plans. In addition, Nets point guard Deron Williams has been ruled out for this game, leaving Brooklyn with Jarrett Jack as their only strong ball-handler amid other roster distractions.
Obviously, the Hawks have been playing extremely well for the past two months, and that has shifted the focus toward Thursday's All-Star selections. The voting has already finished, but Atlanta's quartet of potential choices can make another strong point with a quality performance here, and there really isn't a singular match-up to worry Atlanta's fan base with Brooklyn in their current state of existence.
While Sunday night's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves did not exactly set the world ablaze, it was a spot where the Atlanta Hawks took care of business against an inferior opponent, and Wednesday's contest is yet another opportunity to execute that. The Nets have fallen out of the playoff picture by nature of losing eight of ten games, and while Brooklyn isn't quite the severe underdog that Minnesota was a few days ago, it would be a shock if Atlanta fell flat.
It should be mentioned that this particular game will be telecast on ESPN, leaving long-time diehards to fear for "National TV Hawks", but this group has been immune to that (and every) phenomenon this season. Stay tuned to this space throughout the day for updates and a recap to follow.
Oh, did we mention that the Hawks have the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Nets? That one seems important, too.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, January 28, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM