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Preview: Hawks face Knicks in pre-break battle

One more before a week off.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After three consecutive home losses, the Atlanta Hawks bounced back on Tuesday, outlasting the Los Angeles Lakers in what became an entertaining match-up. Lloyd Pierce’s team then enjoyed an off day (at least from game action) on Wednesday and the Hawks welcome the New York Knicks on Thursday evening for the final game before the All-Star break.

On paper, this is an exceptionally favorable match-up for Atlanta and that is reflected in the Las Vegas point spread. At the time of this post, the Hawks are 7.5-point favorites over the visiting Knicks and, if that number holds, it would be the largest point spread in favor of Atlanta since Apr. 11, 2017.

Why, you ask, would the Hawks be favored by such a significant margin? Well, the current version of the Knicks... isn’t great. New York arrives in Atlanta on a staggering 18-game (!!!) losing streak and, for good measure, Dennis Smith Jr. and company were in action on Wednesday evening. That means the Knicks are on the second night of a back-to-back and, in short, this is the best match-up possible (at least on paper) for the Hawks, even with New York (with a very different roster) holding a 2-1 advantage in the season series.

Still, Atlanta must show up and play at a high level to ensure victory and it will be interesting to monitor the rotation in this game. Pierce changed things up a bit, partially out of necessity, on Tuesday in deploying Vince Carter at the 3 and DeAndre’ Bembry as the team’s backup point guard, but newly-minted backup point guard Jaylen Adams likely returns in this game.

Adams (right ankle sprain) is listed as probable and he is joined on the injury report by Kevin Huerter (left ankle sprain), who is also probable to play against New York. On the Knicks side, there is no officially injury report until closer to game time but New York operated without Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) Frank Ntilikina (sore groin) on Wednesday in a loss to Philadelphia.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest from State Farm Arena.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, Feb. 14, 7:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)