For the first time this season, the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets will square off on Sunday afternoon in what should be an interesting matinee tilt. Brooklyn enters on a four-game winning streak and, with that in mind, Kenny Atkinson’s team is arguably playing its best basketball of the season. In contrast, the Hawks suffered an ugly loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics on Friday evening and Lloyd Pierce’s squad will be aiming to avoid an 0-3 road trip.
Both teams have intriguing young players on the shelf, with Caris LeVert out for Brooklyn and Taurean Prince out for Atlanta. Still, the Nets have an intriguing backcourt piece in Spencer Dinwiddie, who recently inked a lucrative contract extension, and the talented guard has scored 25 points or more in three straight games. Atlanta’s task will be to slow down players like Dinwiddie and second-year big man Jarrett Allen, and Brooklyn’s offense has been in the middle of the NBA pack this season despite the team’s unsightly overall record.
Elsewhere, Jeremy Lin returns to Brooklyn for the first time since being dealt to the Hawks in July, and the veteran guard spent the last two seasons with the Nets. Though Lin missed all but 25 minutes of the 2017-18 season with injury, the 30-year-old did perform well in Brooklyn during the previous campaign and his return trip to New York (where he also famously excelled for the Knicks) will be a story line to monitor.
From an injury standpoint, the Hawks will be without Prince, Omari Spellman, Alex Poythress and Miles Plumlee. None of those absences are surprising given recent news and, for Brooklyn, Allen Crabbe is listed as doubtful after missing the team’s game on Friday.
The good folks in Las Vegas install the Hawks as seven-point underdogs in this game, painting the picture in which the expected result is a loss but there is room for optimism. Brooklyn’s recent level of play doesn’t foreshadow much in the way of positivity for the visitors but, if Atlanta’s performance level is closer to Wednesday (in Dallas) than it was on Friday (in Boston), the Hawks could pull off a mild upset here.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, Dec. 16, 3:00 pm ET
Location: Barclays Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: V103.3 (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)