Less than 24 hours after suffering a ninth consecutive loss (in blowout fashion), the Atlanta Hawks will return to the court. This time, Lloyd Pierce’s team will be in Chicago to face the Bulls and the injury report paints a potentially bleak picture.
Trae Young (right ankle sprain) did not travel to Chicago after leaving Friday’s game at the end of the first half. As such, Atlanta’s offensive centerpiece will miss this contest and Young is joined by Evan Turner, Alex Len and Jabari Parker on the injury report. Turner (right hamstring strain) is probable, while Len (left ankle sprain) and Parker (right shoulder impingement) are questionable. For the Bulls, Otto Porter (left foot) is out, with Lauri Markkanen (illness) listed as questionable and the duo of Wendell Carter (abdomen) and Zach LaVine (shoulder) listed as probable.
In Young’s stead, the Hawks are certainly short-handed in terms of offensive creation, with Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, Evan Turner, DeAndre’ Bembry and even De’Andre Hunter as options to occupy on-ball roles. Atlanta also has Brandon Goodwin with the team right now and, with Young unavailable, the 24-year-old from Norcross (on a Two-Way contract) is the only “natural” point guard that will be in uniform for this particular matchup.
While the injury absence for Young will draw justifiable attention, the Hawks are also facing a (very) difficult schedule spot. Atlanta faced a long flight and a quick turnaround, while the Bulls haven’t played since Monday and should be well rested. There is the potential for rust given Chicago’s long layoff but, in the two games between these teams this season, the Bulls are 2-0 by a combined 54 points.
The good folks in Las Vegas install the Hawks as 9.5-point underdogs, taking Young’s absence and the schedule imbalance into account. It will be interesting to see how Atlanta responds but, with 20 losses in the last 22 games, skepticism is likely warranted until the team proves otherwise.
Stay tuned throughout the day and be encouraged to utilize the comments below as a “game thread” for the action.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 28, 8:00 pm ET
Location: United Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass