The Atlanta Hawks will be overshadowed on Saturday night. That’s simply the reality of the situation.
Atlanta United will play for the MLS Cup at 8:00 pm ET and, given the proximity between State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the atmosphere should be... interesting. Throw in the fact that the Hawks play host to a (very) good but not overly “splashy” team in the Denver Nuggets and this could be a spot in which only die-hard fans are consuming the action on the hardwood.
With that said, there are plenty of story lines to follow here. The Hawks will attempt to avoid a five-game losing streak, after an interesting yet somewhat lopsided loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. Atlanta enjoyed two days off following that defeat and, in an odd scheduling quirk, the Hawks will again be off for three days after squaring off with the Nuggets.
On the injury front, both teams are quite busy and not in the best way. Denver has not formally announced an injury report after playing on Friday evening in Charlotte but old friend Paul Millsap reportedly suffered a foot injury that could sideline him for Saturday’s game. Beyond that, the Nuggets were without starting guard Gary Harris on Friday and have been operating without Will Barton for weeks.
Atlanta’s injury report is also jam-packed with projected absences. With Taurean Prince out for an extended period, the Hawks are already short-handed but Jeremy Lin (low back strain) and Omari Spellman (right hip soreness) will both miss a second consecutive game. Miles Plumlee (left knee pain) is also listed as doubtful and, while the team did receive significant contributions from depth pieces like Tyler Dorsey on Wednesday, the Hawks will need to be creative here, including the potential deployment of rookie guard Jaylen Adams.
At the time of this post, the good folks in Las Vegas install the Nuggets as 7.5-point favorites on the road, even on the second night of a back-to-back set. That speaks to the quality of basketball put forth by Denver to this point in the season but, at the end of the day, the Hawks do have a rest advantage (to go along with homecourt), which could set the stage for a competitive tilt here.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest from State Farm Arena.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 8, 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)