The 2017-2018 NBA schedule is freely available and the Atlanta Hawks will kick things off on Oct. 18 in Dallas before wrapping things up on Apr. 10 at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. With that said, there are quite a few games to closely monitor in between and, in this space, we will take a glance at ten games worth circling on the calendar at this early date.
Let’s roll through them.
- Friday, Oct. 27 - vs. Denver Nuggets - Paul Millsap’s return was always going to be on this list but the fact that it doubles as the home opener makes it a certifiable no-brainer. The Hawks probably aren’t thrilled to lose the intrigue of a late-season return from Millsap but, in the same breath, the opener is now full-fledged appointment television for the entire fan base.
- Monday, Nov. 6 - vs. Boston Celtics - The Celtics are (still) Atlanta’s chief rival and Al Horford’s presence always makes this an intriguing watch. Boston comes to town just 12 days later so, if you want to, circle that game instead. Regardless, it will be fun.
- Friday, Nov. 24 - vs. New York Knicks - Welcome back, Tim Hardaway Jr.! The Knicks probably won’t be very good but they have a large fan base and this will be a fun atmosphere at Philips Arena.
- Monday, Jan. 15 - vs. San Antonio Spurs - Mercifully, the Hawks were given a home game on MLK Day after a one-year hiatus and that is the right move. Philips Arena is always the place to be on that particular afternoon and, with the Spurs coming to town, there is even more intrigue.
- Wednesday, Jan. 31 - vs. Charlotte Hornets - The Hawks will see Dwight Howard (very) early on in Charlotte but this is his first return “home” to Atlanta. The reaction will be interesting to monitor.
- Thursday, Feb. 8 - @ Orlando Magic - At first glance, this seems like a weird game to highlight but it happens to be the first contest after the trade deadline. Will the Hawks “sell” in a big way? Even if they don’t, the Magic could be a direct competitor for ping-pong balls.
- Monday, Feb. 26 - vs. Los Angeles Lakers - Lonzo Ball is quite popular and this is a rare opportunity for a sell-out at Philips Arena. Oh, and the Lakers will be pretty bad so it might be a good spot for a victory.
- Friday, Mar. 2 - vs. Golden State Warriors - I mean, do I need to explain this one?
- Thursday, Mar. 22 - @ Sacramento Kings - This is one of the two nationally televised games for the Hawks (on NBATV) and it could be meaningful in terms of lottery positioning. It’s the little things.
- Wednesday, Mar. 28 - @ Minnesota Timberwolves - The Hawks will be keeping tabs on the Wolves all season long as a result of the first-round draft pick owed to Atlanta in 2018. If Minnesota makes the playoffs, the pick will convey and, given that this is late in the year, it might tell us quite a bit.