State Farm Arena is now open and the Atlanta Hawks provided an evening to remember on Wednesday with a 26-point comeback in an exciting victory. On Saturday, the pomp and circumstance of a grand opening evaporates but, as the Chicago Bulls visit for the evening, the Hawks seek a third consecutive win.
The Bulls enter on the second night of a back-to-back and with plenty of injury concerns. Chicago will be without Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis for this contest and, while the team does have some remaining offensive firepower with Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker and old friend Justin Holiday, this is an undermanned roster that provides a strong opportunity for Atlanta.
Beyond that, the Bulls display one of the league’s worst defenses and, at times this season, the Hawks have been genuinely dynamic offensively. It will be interesting to see how Trae Young bounces back from an uneven showing on Wednesday (though he was very good down the stretch) and, in this spot, he has the advantage against the likes of Cameron Payne at the point of attack. In addition, the Hawks will be without Alex Poythress on Saturday (and beyond) but Atlanta will have Daniel Hamilton available to play for the first time this season, if and when the coaching staff chooses to deploy him.
From a match-up standpoint, the Hawks will be tasked with keeping LaVine in check and, for most of the evening, that presumably means the work of Kent Bazemore on the perimeter. If Atlanta can limit LaVine’s explosiveness, the pendulum could swing in favor of the home team and, if you need more in terms of story lines to follow, Atlanta product Wendell Carter Jr. returns home for the first time as a professional after landing in the lottery back in June.
The good folks in Las Vegas install the Hawks as 5.5-point favorites (!!!) in this match-up, providing the “expert” perspective on how this game may be decided. If nothing else, this is a good opportunity for Lloyd Pierce’s team to measure itself against a competitor in the Eastern Conference and we’ll be here throughout the evening for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 27, 7:30 pm ET
Location: State Farm Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)