The Atlanta Hawks started the 2019-20 regular season on a high note, topping the Detroit Pistons in the opener behind a sterling performance from Trae Young. After a hiatus from game action on Friday, the Hawks will return to the hardwood on Saturday evening and, this time, State Farm Arena will play host to the proceedings.
In the team’s home opener, the Hawks will square off with the Orlando Magic and, in short, Lloyd Pierce’s squad will be looking to change the recent dynamic against a Southeast Division rival. In 2018-19, the Magic swept the four-game season series with the Hawks, outscoring Atlanta by 81 (!) total points and forcing the Hawks into a -18.8 net rating. Some of that is, of course, small sample size noise but, even in the 2019-20 preseason, the Hawks struggled to score against what is a top-10 defense.
It is fair to note that Atlanta’s roster has shifted quite a bit since last season and, in truth, there is some possibility that Orlando overachieved on the whole in 2018-19. Still, the Hawks enter this game as 2.5-point home underdogs (if you enjoy that sort of thing) and it will be interesting to see how Atlanta responds against an opponent that appears better suited to challenge them than the Blake Griffin-less Pistons.
On the injury front, things are trending well for Atlanta. Kevin Huerter is completely off the injury report after returning on Thursday and only Allen Crabbe and Chandler Parsons will miss Saturday’s game. Orlando is at full strength, though, and that takes away any perceived edge for the Hawks in terms of player availability.
With the excitement in the city, State Farm Arena should be abuzz on Saturday evening. That, in short, should present a fun atmosphere for what should be a competitive, entertaining basketball game.
Stay tuned throughout the day and be encouraged to utilize the comments below as a “game thread” for the action.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 26, 7:30 pm ET
Location: State Farm Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass