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Preview: Hawks face intriguing test in Miami

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The first back-to-back.

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks fell just short in a slug-fest against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday evening. While there are no moral victories in professional sports, Lloyd Pierce’s team performed admirably and, all things considered, Atlanta’s early-season performance has been wildly encouraging. On Tuesday evening, the Hawks will face a difficult test, however, as the Miami Heat await on the second night of a back-to-back with travel.

With circumstances dictating a tough environment for the Hawks, the good folks in Las Vegas have installed Atlanta as an 8-point underdog on the road. That paints a potentially challenging picture for Trae Young and company, particularly with Jimmy Butler scheduled to make his season debut after the birth of his child.

From an injury perspective, the Heat are not at full strength, with Derrick Jones Jr., James Johnson and Dion Waiters expected to miss the game and Kelly Olynyk listed as probable. Atlanta should be at something resembling full strength, though Evan Turner (left Achilles pain) is listed as doubtful. The rest of the injury report is clean, with the exception of continued absences for Chandler Parsons and Allen Crabbe.

There are a number of noteworthy match-ups in this game, potentially headlined by the battle between John Collins and Bam Adebayo. The two young big men won’t square off head-to-head all night long (Adebayo is essentially a full-time center) but pitting the pair of hyper-athletic, active bigs on the floor could provide fireworks. Also, this is the second straight night in which the Hawks will face team that deploys a lot of size on the perimeter, with non-Goran Dragic lineups featuring Justise Winslow at point guard. Monday’s game could be instructive in how Atlanta approaches that kind of match-up.

The Hawks did play the Heat in the preseason and, if you are into that kind of thing, we have a deep dive for your reading/viewing pleasure. The regular season is a different animal and, more than anything, it will be interesting to see how a young team bounces back from a tough loss in a trying circumstance.

Stay tuned throughout the day and be encouraged to utilize the comments below as a “game thread” for the action.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7:30 pm ET

Location: American Airlines Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA TV, NBA League Pass

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass