The Atlanta Hawks dropped both ends of a back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, respectively. While Monday’s game provided all kinds of encouraging signs even in defeat, Tuesday’s result in Miami was more trying, particularly in that Trae Young went down in the second quarter with a right ankle injury.
Since then, the news about Young is largely positive but, in the short term, the lead guard will miss Atlanta’s rematch with Miami on Thursday at State Farm Arena. That sets the stage for a challenging atmosphere for the home team, with Atlanta famously struggling to generate effective offense whenever Young isn’t at the wheel.
With that as the backdrop, the Hawks enter Thursday’s tilt as 6.5-point home underdogs in Las Vegas, displaying some of the baked-in uncertainty that comes with a star-level injury. It is unknown as to what Atlanta will do from a lineup perspective but, without Young, ball-handling duties will be shared in an egalitarian fashion. Players like Kevin Huerter, DeAndre’ Bembry, Ty Wallace and Cam Reddish could see an uptick in on-ball usage, with Evan Turner listed as doubtful with an Achilles ailment.
The timing for Young’s ailment is fortunate in many ways, with the Hawks facing a four-day break after Thursday’s game. On the other hand, this is one of Atlanta’s two nationally televised games this season and, in short, the good folks at TNT probably aren’t overjoyed by a game that doesn’t feature the Hawks’ most exciting player.
Defensively, there is reason to believe that the Hawks can perform admirably against Miami, particularly when deploying the size necessary to switch in a number of combinations. The Heat shot the ball well from three-point range on Tuesday but, if that cools, Atlanta could have enough offense — headlined by John Collins — to make things competitive and close-fought.
Stay tuned throughout the day and be encouraged to utilize the comments below as a “game thread” for the action.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, Oct. 31, 7:00 pm ET
Location: State Farm Arena
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: TNT Overtime