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Preview: Hawks square off against red-hot Celtics

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A tough spot, to say the least.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Jeremy Lin is available to play, per the Hawks.


One third of the 2018-19 NBA season is in the books and the most recent performance from the Atlanta Hawks was a positive one, even in a close-fought defeat. That is the backdrop as Friday night’s match-up with the Boston Celtics approaches and, in short, this should be an interesting test for Lloyd Pierce’s team.

The Celtics enter this particular contest playing their best basketball of the season, as Kyrie Irving and company are riding a seven-game winning streak. That stretch also doubles as the best active streak in the NBA and, as a result, the Hawks enter this game as 13-point underdogs in Las Vegas.

That, of course, doesn’t preclude Atlanta from putting together a strong, competitive performance but the sledding could be tough. With that said, Boston will be without Al Horford in this game as a result of injury, leveling the playing field a bit, and the Hawks could have the benefit of Jeremy Lin’s return in this match-up. The veteran guard is currently listed as questionable and, even if he can’t go against the Celtics, that upgrade (after missing three of the last five games) should be seen as a positive.

Still, the Hawks will be short-handed whether Lin can play or not, with 4 of 17 players (headlined by Taurean Prince and Omari Spellman) already ruled out for Friday night’s action. Slowing Boston’s improving offense will be critical but, in the same breath, it is the Celtics’ defense that has been tremendous for much of the season and producing efficient offense could be the make-or-break factor in this game.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Friday, Dec. 14, 7:00 pm ET

Location: TD Garden

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)