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Nets vs. Hawks preview: Kenny Atkinson returns as Atlanta plays host to Brooklyn

The Hawks need a win in the worst way.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks are in the midst of a lengthy homestand and, normally, that would be a very good thing. However, the Hawks are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and, during the last outing, tensions boiled over to the point where Dennis Schröder was benched for the final 21 minutes of a loss to the Warriors.

Have no fear, Hawks fans. The Brooklyn Nets are here.

Okay, that is probably a little bit disrespectful but the Nets are the NBA’s worst team in 2016-2017. Old pal Kenny Atkinson is doing what he can to steer the ship in Brooklyn, but with Jeremy Lin banged up at times this season and an ugly roster beyond Brook Lopez, it is no surprise that the Nets sport the worst record in the league.

Without digging too deep, Atkinson and GM Sean Marks are doing a solid job in year one, but Brooklyn might be the elixir that Atlanta needs right now. The Hawks sit as 9.5-point favorites at the time of this post and FiveThirtyEight provides Atlanta with a lofty 83 percent chance at victory.

The match-up between Brook Lopez and Dwight Howard will draw the individual headlines (in addition to Atkinson’s first return as head coach) and it will be interesting to see if Mike Budenholzer tweaks the rotation to include Mike Muscala in this match-up. Beyond that, this is a spot in which the Hawks absolutely need to take care of business, with a tough game looming on Friday when the Kyle Lowry-less Toronto Raptors invade Philips Arena.

Something tells me the energy level won’t be off the charts in Philips Arena as the Nets arrive but this is a spot in which Atlanta needs to pick up a victory. Stay tuned.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 8, 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Philips Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM