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Preview: Hawks begin back-to-back in Minnesota

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On the road again.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Though the team’s longest winning streak of the season came to an end on Wednesday evening, the Atlanta Hawks continue to operate at an improved level. With that said, the Hawks have an interesting test on Friday evening, as the squad travels to the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After a stretch in which the Wolves dropped six of seven games, Minnesota has rebounded to win two in a row, with both victories coming away from Target Center. As such, it does not come as an overwhelming surprise to see the good folks in Las Vegas installing the home team as the favorite here, as the Hawks are currently 9.5-point underdogs in this match-up.

With a similar effort to the recent past, Atlanta could certainly keep this game competitive, but they will be forced to operate without Alex Len for the second straight game. The veteran big man is dealing with a back issue and, as a result, Lloyd Pierce will be forced to get creative in order to fill his full allotment of frontcourt minutes. Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins are available and expected to start but, after that, the Hawks will deploy only Omari Spellman, Alex Poythress, Vince Carter and Justin Anderson as potential options, leaving the team with a relative lack of size against Karl-Anthony Towns and company.

The Wolves are not without injury issues of their own, however, as old friend and point guard Jeff Teague (ankle) will be absent for his fifth consecutive game. Minnesota has been able to navigate the waters without him, thanks to strong play from Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones, but that particular absence is noteworthy on a number of levels.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Friday, Dec. 28, 8:00 pm ET

Location: Target Center

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

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

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