As they usually do, the Atlanta Hawks had Christmas Day off, and a memorable Golden State vs. Cleveland matchup headlined the Christmas games. Tonight, Atlanta returns to action tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
In the two teams’ last meeting — On December 21 in Atlanta — the Timberwolves won by a score of 92-84. Dwight Howard missed the game, and the rebounding numbers skewed heavily in Minnesota’s favor. The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Hawks 52-35, a crucial factor in a game that was close down the stretch.
It looks like the Hawks will get a boost with the return of two key players to the team's rotation. Both Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway Jr. were upgraded to "probable" for tonight's game and appear likely to return to the rotation.
Beyond health concerns, Atlanta will most likely look to Dennis Schröder and Paul Millsap for most of the offensive production tonight. Millsap has been consistently good all season, and Schröder has been playing very well over the past few games. Atlanta still sits at a somewhat disappointing 15-15 for the season, but these two players’ performances have been encouraging recently.
The Hawks will also benefit from facing a Timberwolves team that is finishing a back-to-back after a Christmas Day game against Oklahoma City. The Timberwolves lost that game, 112-100, and will be hoping to finish the back-to-back with a home win tonight.
Right now, for Atlanta, getting its players healthy is the biggest concern. As flawed as this Hawks team has looked over recent weeks, there are many reasons to believe that the Hawks are better than their 15-15 record. To get to that point, though, Atlanta will need players like Howard and Hardaway to be healthy.
Game Date/Time: Monday, December 16, 9:00 p.m. EST
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM