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Hawks vs. Thunder preview: Atlanta aims to reach .500 in Oklahoma City

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Once again saddled with a losing record, the Hawks will look to get a key win against the Thunder.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

After a crushing loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night, the Hawks will look to win tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the two teams’ last meeting of the season. The Thunder won the first match-up, a 102-99 victory in Atlanta that came (as most of their wins have) on the back of a strong performance by Russell Westbrook.

Since the Hawks’ infamous seven-game losing streak (capped by the OKC loss), the team has played better, but not good enough to rise back above the .500 mark. Atlanta had a nice win in Toronto on Friday, but failed to win both games of the back-to-back against Charlotte.

After facing the Thunder, the Hawks will play the Timberwolves twice (with a match-up against the Nuggets sandwiched in between). As good as Minnesota can potentially be, these games will be a nice chance for Atlanta to pick up some wins before the schedule gets more difficult again. Oklahoma City is much better than these two opponents, and a win tonight would be a nice momentum boost for the Hawks.

As with any game against the Thunder, it will be crucial for Atlanta to contain Westbrook as much as is humanly possible. The Thunder’s offense is fairly lackluster without their superstar point guard, and any path to victory lies through minimizing his impact on the game. Atlanta’s defense has looked extremely vulnerable lately, though, so this could be a difficult task.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, December 19, 8:00 p.m. ET

Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM