The Atlanta Hawks completed a lengthy homestand on Monday afternoon, falling to the Orlando Magic by a lopsided margin on MLK Day. On the heels of that effort, Lloyd Pierce’s team hit the road (in conjunction with the Super Bowl in Atlanta) for their longest trip of the season and their first stop is a match-up with the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Wednesday evening.
While this trip isn’t necessarily littered with incredibly difficult opponents in an overall sense, Atlanta’s best chance at victory might be in the opener, as the Bulls have struggled violently in the recent past. Chicago did emerge victorious on Monday, beating a wretched Cleveland team on the road, but the Bulls lost ten consecutive games prior to that face-off and they occupy a permanent place in the league’s bottom tier.
Still, the Hawks may not be at full strength for this game and that sheds a bit of light as to why the good folks in Las Vegas project the Bulls as two-point favorites at the time of this post. Chicago does have the benefit of home-court advantage and rookie wing Kevin Huerter is listed as questionable with the sore neck that sidelined him for Monday’s loss. With Kent Bazemore still on the shelf, the absence of Huerter was sharply felt against Orlando and, if he can’t play in this spot, Tyler Dorsey and Daniel Hamilton would seemingly be in line for increased playing time.
Even if Huerter is unavailable, however, this is a strong opportunity for a road win, as the Bulls sport the NBA’s worst offense to go along with a bottom-tier defense. In short, the Hawks have been operating at a (much) higher level than their opponent over the past month-plus and, even if the point spread doesn’t necessarily reflect the expectation of a victory, it would be unfortunate for Atlanta to begin this seven-game slog with a loss in Chicago.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 8:00 pm ET
Location: United Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)