With five wins in six games (including a close-fought victory on Saturday), the Atlanta Hawks are riding high as 2019 approaches. There is one more test for Lloyd Pierce’s team before the calendar flips, however, and it comes in the form of a road game against the Indiana Pacers on New Year’s Eve.
Have no fear, the contest will be over in plenty of time to pave the way for typical New Year’s Eve shenanigans, as it is set for a matinee time slot. Ironically, Atlanta’s most recent loss came, at home, to the Pacers on Wednesday and this is a bit of a quick rematch for the Hawks in an attempt to avenge that result.
Still, this is the most difficult match-up of this recent stretch on paper, as the Pacers have won 11 of 13 games before playing host to the New Year’s Eve festivities. At tip-off, Indiana will sport a dazzling 24-12 record and, as a result, the home team is favored by 11 points (or something in that range) according to the good folks in Las Vegas.
That comes as no surprise given the perceived disparity between the two teams but, in short, Atlanta is playing better than their full-season record indicates and isn’t really up for debate. Still, it will be important to keep an eye on the injury/rotation situation, as the Hawks will (again) be without Taurean Prince and, after an injury sustained on Saturday, Kent Bazemore will be out for at least two weeks, leaving the wing group in a weakened state.
In addition, Omari Spellman is in the G League (Update: Alex Poythress was recalled on Monday morning) with the Erie BayHawks after roster moves on Sunday, setting the stage for less depth in the frontcourt. Dewayne Dedmon is listed as doubtful after missing Saturday’s game with knee soreness and Indiana’s frontcourt is bulky. As such, staying out of foul trouble will be crucial for John Collins and the rest of Atlanta’s available big men, including Alex Len, Miles Plumlee and even Vince Carter.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Monday, Dec. 31, 3:00 pm ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)