In a weird scheduling quirk, the Atlanta Hawks play the Chicago Bulls for the second time in less than a week, although this matchup will come in Chicago. Both teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, with the Hawks sitting in fourth place and the Bulls in eighth. In a conference that is crowded with potential playoff teams though, neither team’s respective place in the standings looks particularly safe.
Atlanta is hoping to get Mike Muscala back soon, but the injured big man won’t be able to play tonight. Muscala has been a vital depth piece for the Hawks this season, and his absence has definitely hurt the team since his injury. While his long-term availability doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy, Muscala’s ability to come off the bench is a big part of the Hawks’ potential as a team.
In any case, this is a winnable game for both teams. Chicago easily has the best player in this game in Jimmy Butler, and home-court advantage tips in their favor as well. On the other hand, Atlanta is clearly the better team from a season-long perspective, and this is the type of game that a mid-tier playoff team should win. After the home loss to the LA Clippers, this is also a good chance for the team to start winning again.
The Hawks have played an easy schedule in January so far, but the slate is about to get a little more difficult. Atlanta will play Washington at home on Friday night, and will have to play the deadly Houston Rockets on the road in early February. Tonight is a winnable game, one the Hawks may need for playoff seeding down the road.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, January 25, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM