Hello, Philips Arena.
The Atlanta Hawks finally return home on Friday evening and old friend Paul Millsap greets his former squad as a member of the Denver Nuggets. The home team will be aiming for a streak-busting win after four consecutive losses but, more than anything, it will simply be refreshing to see basketball played on the floor in a friendly venue.
While Atlanta’s struggles are well-documented in this space, the visitors are also scuffling. Denver sports a 1-3 record that includes a shockingly bad offense to this point and, in the case of Millsap, the veteran power forward certainly does not fully resemble the player that left the Hawks. It is still (quite) early but, while the Hawks face a back-to-back and Denver does not, that setup presents some level of optimism.
The big question for the Hawks in this spot is the status of Dennis Schröder and Ersan Ilyasova. Both starters missed Thursday’s game as a result of injury and, as of this morning, there is no definitive answer on whether either will return for the home opener. Ilyasova is listed as probable for the contest, while the team’s starting pint guard has a questionable designation. Without Schröder at the helm of the offense, the Hawks have been rather impotent in producing quality looks and, in short, knocking off Denver would be a very difficult task if he is unable to play in this game.
As you may expect, the Hawks will enter the proceedings as a home underdog, with or without Schröder and Ilyasova in the lineup. Still, Atlanta’s home crowd should be energized (in part by Run The Jewels) and a shiny new facility could bring some added excitement.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game”