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Preview: John Collins returns as Hawks visit Cavaliers

Guess who’s back.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After 25-game journey through the wilderness, the Atlanta Hawks have a full roster on Monday evening. Lloyd Pierce’s team went just 4-21 (with a league-worst net rating) during the suspension of John Collins but the season begins anew with a road matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While the Hawks have the obvious jolt of energy that should come from Collins’ return, they will also be looking for redemption after a disappointing showing on Saturday. Atlanta was in full control before succumbing to the Brooklyn Nets in the second half in a seventh straight defeat. This time around, the sledding should be a bit easier, however, as the Cavs are just 8-21 on the season.

Cleveland has won back-to-back games but, according to the good folks in Las Vegas, the Hawks are just two-point underdogs. Some of that is the assumption that Atlanta will be notably better with Collins but it also factors in some of the Cavs’ perceived weaknesses. On the injury front, Larry Nance Jr. is questionable with left knee soreness, while Evan Turner is questionable with a left hamstring strain for Atlanta. Neither ailment is debilitating from a team perspective but, as always, it is wide to keep an eye on the injury report.

This is the final game before Christmas for the Hawks and, after facing off with the Cavs, Lloyd Pierce’s team will have a three-day hiatus for the holiday. Until then, though, the Hawks will be aiming to right the ship with a win in game featuring two of the three worst defenses (at least statistically) in the NBA this season.

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: Monday, Dec. 23, 7:00 pm ET

Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass