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Preview: Hawks welcome Warriors to Philips Arena

Golden State is in town for the only time this season.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to repeat as NBA champions and, for the first time this season, the Atlanta Hawks will match up with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and company on Friday evening. While the “rematch” looms later in March, this is the singular opportunity for those in Atlanta to see the Warriors up close and personal and, as such, this should be a fun night.

The good folks in Las Vegas install the Hawks as 13-point underdogs in this match-up, illustrating the uphill battle that the home faces here. As of Friday morning (and the time of this post), Golden State is expected to be at full strength and, in short, that means that the visitors will have the four best players on the floor at the outset.

On Atlanta’s side, health is beginning to return, with only DeAndre’ Bembry and Antonius Cleveland listed as “out” on the injury report. It remains to be seen as to how Mike Budenholzer will deploy his rotation, especially with Malcolm Delaney nearing 100 percent, but Golden State presents a significant challenge given that all four of Atlanta’s available big men are primarily centers and, well, the Warriors are the best in the business at playing small lineups.

It should be fun to see how the Hawks respond to this kind of challenge and, if nothing else, Atlanta played well on Wednesday to inspire some confidence in a competitive atmosphere for Friday.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Friday, March 2, 7:30 pm ET

Location: Philips Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta)