The Atlanta Hawks look for another shorthanded win Friday night when they travel to Denver to face the Nuggets. How shorthanded they will be remains to be seen.
The team will be without Dwight Howard who will miss his third straight game due to a back injury. Howard didn’t travel to Denver and sitting out Friday’s matchup will give him an additional three straight days of rest.
The team could also be without shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. who left Wednesday’s loss against Minnesota in the first quarter due to a groin injury. Hardaway is officially listed as questionable for Friday’s game and I’d expect Atlanta to take a cautious approach with him given that they won’t play again until Monday.
Shorthanded or not, the Hawks could use a win to get back to the .500 mark after falling to 14-15 on the season with Wednesday’s loss to the Timberwolves. Atlanta has impressive road wins over Toronto and Oklahoma City in the last week but have coupled those with home losses to Orlando and Charlotte.
Finding consistency has been an issue for Atlanta who is just 5-13 since its 9-2 start. Consistency hasn’t been an issue for Dennis Schröder and Paul Millsap who have played well over the last seven games. Schröder is averaging a team-best 22.4 points and 7.3 assists over that span and is shooting a crisp 55 percent from the field. Millsap over that same span is averaging 20.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists on 54 percent shooting.
Denver saw a three-game winning streak end on Tuesday with a 119-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets are 12-17 on the season and currently in a three-way tie with the Blazers and the Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Game Date/Time: Friday, December 23, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM