The Atlanta Hawks have endured more than a few lopsided defeats this season. The first of those losses came at the hands of the Utah Jazz on Nov. 25, when the team fell to 10-6 on the season after a 95-68 drubbing in Salt Lake City. More than two months later, the Hawks will have the opportunity to avenge that defeat on Monday evening, as the two teams get together at Philips Arena.
While the great majority of Atlanta sports fans will likely be unable to summon anything but numbness by tip-off, the Hawks have a job to do and this is a tall task. Utah enters with a sparkling 32-19 record on the season and the Jazz have won three of their last four games.
Old friend Quin Snyder leads one of the best defensive teams in the league, and the match-up between Rudy Gobert and Dwight Howard will certainly garner headlines. Beyond that, Gordon Hayward is a legitimate All-Star on the wing and, with Thabo Sefolosha once again out of the lineup with a groin injury, Atlanta could have an uphill battle ahead on the defensive end as well.
The Jazz are arguably the deepest team in the NBA, running out a lineup that includes the likes of former Hawks Joe Johnson and Shelvin Mack off the bench. In short, Utah is the better team in this spot, but the home team does have the advantage of the friendly venue, which should level the playing field considerably.
The good folks at FiveThirtyEight project the Hawks to win 52 percent of the time this evening, with NumberFire giving Atlanta a 54 percent chance at victory. Nothing will be easy, though, and the fan base likely won’t be quite as enthused this evening than under normal circumstances. Stay tuned.
Game Date/Time: Monday, February 6, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM