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Preview: Hawks complete pre-Christmas schedule against Mavs

One more before the holiday.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks have three full days off for the Christmas holiday but, before that break arrives, the team hits the floor on Saturday evening. Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks are in town for a rematch of the season opener and, in the wake of a close-fought loss in Oklahoma City, this is an interesting test for the home team.

Atlanta famously dominated in the season opener but a lot has changed since then. To be fair, the Mavs are struggling to the tune of a 9-24 record but Dallas is seen as the Las Vegas favorite (albeit a mild one) in this spot and that illustrates a bit of the change. The Hawks have been more than competitive in most losses this season but Friday’s defeat was particularly frustrating and, even on the second of a back-to-back, this should be a motivated bunch.

Dallas also played (and lost) on Friday, leveling the playing field a bit, and the Mavs are also operating in shorthanded fashion. From a match-up perspective, it will be interesting to see how the Hawks treat rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and, of course, Atlanta was without Dennis Schröder on Friday, leaving some uncertainty at that particular spot.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest and, if anything, this feels like a winnable spot for the Hawks to send the team into a mini-vacation in style.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Saturday, December 23, 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Philips Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta)