The Atlanta Hawks put together a strong effort on Wednesday evening, kicking off a seven-game road trip with a lopsided victory in Chicago. After two days off (including some travel), the squad will return to action on Saturday evening but, this time, their opponent should provide more resistance.
In contrast to the lottery-bound Bulls, the Portland Trail Blazers seem like a juggernaut. They own a 30-20 record on the season and the Blazers have won four of the last five games. As a result of that success and the reality of home-court advantage, Portland is widely expected to “hold serve” in this spot, and the good folks in Las Vegas install the Blazers as double-digit favorites as a result.
Still, Atlanta is playing (much) better basketball now than they were early in the season, including a record 9-9 over the last 18 games. That represents real progress and, in Portland, the stars seem to be aligning (including a “probable” distinction) for the return of Kevin Huerter (sore neck) after a two-game absence.
That would give Lloyd Pierce a relatively full complement of options and, of course, the charge here will be to contain CJ McCollum (with Lillard missing tonight’s contest for rest) throughout the evening. In some ways, Portland doesn’t present overwhelming talent in the way that some Western Conference playoff teams do but they are well-coached (by former Hawks head coach Terry Stotts) and generally solid across the board.
Stay tuned throughout the night for all the latest and make sure to note the (very) late tip-off time from Portland.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 10:00 pm ET
Location: Moda Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)