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Preview: Hawks open 2019 in the nation’s capital

The road trip continues.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The end of 2018 was positive for the Atlanta Hawks. Though the team fell short of a victory on New Year’s Eve, it was a competitive performance from Lloyd Pierce’s group and, prior to that, the Hawks were legitimately impressive in racking up a handful of victories. As 2019 opens, there is reason for genuine optimism and, on Wednesday evening, Atlanta continues the road trip with a visit to the nation’s capital to face off with the Washington Wizards.

The Hawks kicked off their recent “hot streak” with a win over Washington on Dec. 18 and, though that particular result came within the friendly confines of State Farm Arena, this is certainly a winnable spot for the visitors. The Wizards ended 2018 with a win over Charlotte but, in general, this is a struggling bunch at the moment and Washington will be without All-Star point guard John Wall for this match-up.

The absence of Wall hasn’t always spelled doom for the Wizards and it should be noted that his backcourt partner, Bradley Beal, has dominated against the Hawks in the recent past. Still, this isn’t a situation in which Atlanta faces a significant talent disadvantage and, as such, the good folks in Las Vegas install the Hawks as only five-point underdogs, even on the road.

Injuries will be important to note on Atlanta’s side, however, as Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince remain sidelined. That means that Lloyd Pierce will have to dig into his depth once again and, on Monday afternoon, Daniel Hamilton received the first start of his NBA career. DeAndre’ Bembry played the “starter’s minutes” alongside Kevin Huerter, however, and that pair appears likely to take the floor quite a bit, both on Wednesday and beyond.

Elsewhere for the Hawks, Dewayne Dedmon has been upgraded to questionable with left knee soreness. It will be interesting to see if the veteran big man is available to play, particularly as Alex Poythress was assigned to Erie on Tuesday. Finally, John Collins is listed as probable with flu-like symptoms, indicating he is likely to play but may not be at full capacity.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 7:00 pm ET

Location: Capital One Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

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

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