After a week-plus of rest and a whirlwind trade deadline, the Atlanta Hawks will actually participate in a competitive basketball game on Friday evening. Though the team has played more than half of its games (56 of 82, to be exact), the second “half” will get underway as the Miami Heat arrive at Philips Arena.
In the last meeting between the two teams, Miami was dominant in a 116-93 victory back on Feb. 1. Prior to that, though, the Hawks claimed the first two match-ups and the face-off will conclude the season series. From a match-up perspective, Atlanta will be tasked with containing Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, with the always entertaining X-Factor in Dion Waiters.
The Hawks, though, will be short-handed with the one-game suspension of Dennis Schröder. That leaves Malcolm Delaney as the only true point guard option on the roster, with Lamar Patterson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kent Bazemore waiting as possibilities to fill the requisite minutes. Schröder’s absence, as well as the addition of Ersan Ilyasova, will be worth monitoring and it will be interesting to see how Atlanta adjusts.
Beyond that, FiveThirtyEight projects a 62 percent chance at victory on Friday night for the Hawks and the good folks in Las Vegas make Atlanta a small favorite despite the suspension. The Heat did enter the All-Star break on a 14-2 tear, though, and the home team must put together a strong performance in order to gain the upper hand.
Basketball is back and we will be here throughout the day with full coverage from Philips Arena. Stay tuned.
Game Date/Time: Friday, February 24, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM