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Magic vs Hawks preview: Atlanta hosts Orlando for MLK Day hoops

The Hawks and Magic get together on MLK Day for what will be an interesting battle between division foes.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Playing an afternoon game at Philips Arena on Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of the better traditions associated with the Atlanta Hawks, and the 2016 edition has arrived. The Hawks will host the Orlando Magic this year in a contest between Southeast Division rivals, and Scott Skiles' team has exceeded expectations with a 20-19 record to begin the season.

The Magic have lost back-to-back games, though, and Atlanta is coming off an impressive blowout win over Brooklyn on Saturday evening. It must be noted that the Nets are, well, not very good, and should be taken into account when evaluating the win, but it was nice to see Atlanta put away an inferior opponent in breezy fashion.

Pace could be important in this particular game, as Orlando has consistently ranked in the bottom third of the league with Atlanta's coaching staff placing a premium on speeding things up when possible. The Magic will also be without arguably their most talented player in Victor Oladipo, who will miss the game with a sprained right knee, and it will be interesting to see how that changes things for the visitors.

In front of what should be a nice crowd on the holiday, the Hawks should be seen as the favorite in this particular spot. At the same time, the Magic are more than capable of spoiling the party, and consistency has been, in short, an issue for Atlanta in recent days. Stay tuned throughout the day for full coverage from the arena and, as always, let's do this together.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, January 18, 5:00 p.m. ET

Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: NBA TV, Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM