In professional sports, the phrase “almost doesn’t count” often comes to mind when teams fall short of victories. The concept of a “moral victory” doesn’t always play well at the highest level but, on Monday night, the Atlanta Hawks competed for 48 minutes with the Toronto Raptors and they did so while (very) short-handed from a roster standpoint. The end result was a three-point loss but, in short, the Hawks had nothing to apologize for with that showing and they’ll look to continue that effort on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.
While the Nets aren’t quite the Raptors in terms of talent and overall standing, Brooklyn has operated at an impressive level in recent days and, perhaps more importantly, they come into this game having rested on Tuesday. The Nets are 12-4 since a rough, 8-18 start and, in general, former Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson has his team in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn did fall short in its last game, a 21-point loss to the Boston Celtics, but they are favored (at least in Las Vegas) to topple the Hawks at home in this spot. The Nets will be without Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in this match-up but both Joe Harris and old friend DeMarre Carroll are listed as questionable, setting the stage for a team that is well suited to match up with the Hawks.
On Atlanta’s side, this post arrives before the official injury report posts, though it is important to note that both Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince are on track to miss this game. Kevin Huerter was sidelined with back pain on Tuesday and, if he is unable to return, Lloyd Pierce will seemingly turn to a four-headed wing monster in the form of DeAndre’ Bembry, Tyler Dorsey, Daniel Hamilton and Justin Anderson. On Tuesday, the Hawks elected to deploy a backcourt of Jeremy Lin and Trae Young and that is also an option, though Pierce noted that the decision was, at least in part, based on the Raptors putting both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet on the court together.
This may not seem like a devastatingly difficult match-up for the Hawks but, with a rest disadvantage in addition to injury concerns, there may be tough sledding ahead. Regardless, these are two teams that are sneakily entertaining to monitor and fun should be had by all.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7:30 pm ET
Location: Barclays Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)