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Preview: Hawks begin post-Christmas run against Pacers

Can Atlanta win four in a row?

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Hawks have announced that John Collins and Omari Spellman are available to play. Alex Len is officially out.

The undermanned Atlanta Hawks put together quite a performance on Sunday and the end result was a third consecutive victory for Lloyd Pierce’s team. Following a two-day holiday break, the Hawks will return to State Farm Arena on Wednesday and the red-hot Indiana Pacers will visit Atlanta for the first time this season.

In the first match-up between the two teams in mid-November, the Pacers escaped with an eight-point victory. If anything, however, Indiana is playing better basketball at this point in the season, as the Pacers have won 9 of 11 games to fully catapult into the discussion for home-court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

As a result of the perceived disparity between the two teams, the Hawks are currently listed as eight-point underdogs, even at home, against Indiana. Some of that is undoubtedly due to the scorching recent play of the Pacers but, beyond that, Atlanta enters this game with serious roster availability issues.

The injury report is jam-packed for the Hawks, with seven (!) players making the list. Taurean Prince and Miles Plumlee have already been ruled out and neither absence comes as a surprise. Omari Spellman is listed as doubtful and, considering his recent absence from the floor, that also isn’t a stunning development. Still, there are other question marks.

John Collins (left ankle sprain) and Alex Len (back strain) are both listed as questionable and the absence of either player would be noteworthy to say the least. The Hawks managed to escape with a road win on Sunday without Collins but the team’s frontcourt was stretched thin without its best player and it will be interesting to see if Collins can go. As for Len, he put together a (very) strong performance in Detroit and, if both players were to miss the game, the Hawks would have serious depth issues up front.

Finally, Dewayne Dedmon (left shin contusion) and Jeremy Lin (low back pain) are listed as probable. For the most part, it would be wise to expect both to play but, of course, the Hawks are under no real obligation to list them on the report without some danger of an absence and Atlanta’s roster could be decimated if the worst-case scenario strikes.

Join us throughout the day and night for all the latest from State Farm Arena. Stay tuned.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 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)