The Atlanta Hawks begin a three-game road trip Monday with a stop in Indiana to face the resurgent Pacers. Atlanta is riding a six-game winning streak and has ascended to second in the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta overcame a 15-point deficit on Saturday in an 117-98 win over the New York Knicks. Paul Millsap and Al Horford led the way for Atlanta combining for 41 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists.
At 17-12, the Indiana Pacers are right in the middle of things in what is a tightly contested Eastern Conference race. The Pacers are 5-5 over their last 10 games but have been really good at home going 10-4 so far this season. Monta Ellis scored 22 points on Saturday to help lead the Pacers to a 102-88 road win over the Timberwolves.
This is a much different looking Indiana team since the last time the Hawks played them. They have been bolstered this season by the return of Paul George who is once again playing at an MVP-type level. George leads the Pacers with a 24.8 per game average and is second on the team in rebounding (7.7) and assists (4.0).
Paul Millsap will likely draw the initial assignment against George provided Indiana sticks with the small ball lineup. Slowing him down will require a group effort and expect to see Atlanta throw a number of defenders at him.
The Hawks will be without backup Tiago Splitter for at least the first two games of their road trip due to a calf strain. Splitter didn't travel with the team and will be reevaluated later in the week. Mike Muscala will likely receive the bulk of the center minutes behind starter Al Horford.
Muscala had recently slipped from the rotation thanks to the reemergence of Mike Scott. Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer recently turned to Scott in search of an offensive spark off the bench and he has made the most of the opportunity to play. Scott is averaging 10.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in December and knocking down 55.6 percent of his three-point attempts. He scored a season-best 18 points off the bench in Saturday's win over the Knicks while finishing 7-for-8 from the field.
Game Date/Time: Monday, December 28, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM