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Preview: Hawks play host to Bulls in first of home-and-home series

The Friday-Sunday double-header begins at State Farm Arena.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Update: The Hawks announced on Friday afternoon that John Collins (flu-like symptoms) is questionable against the Bulls.

Fresh off a thrilling overtime win at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Atlanta Hawks enter a weekend home-and-home with the Chicago Bulls and star guard Zach LaVine. The pair of games could have a significant impact on the standings as the calendar turns to March and the last six weeks of the season arrive — Chicago has the fourth-worst record in the league at 17-45, while the Hawks are four games ahead of the Bulls at 21-41, but just 2.5 games behind Memphis in sixth. Should the Hawks take care of business on Friday at home, they’ll have a chance to pass the slumping Grizzlies by the end of the weekend.

Atlanta’s injury report is as clean as it’s been all year, with just Miles Plumlee ruled out with left knee pain. Plumlee has featured in just 18 games for the Hawks this season and hasn’t seen the floor since the final game of the 2018 calendar year. However, head coach Lloyd Pierce mentioned that Plumlee could be ready for his return soon. Taurean Prince is expected to play in Friday’s contest at home but may not make the trip with the team to Chicago and Miami on Sunday and Monday due to the upcoming birth of his second child.

The marquee matchup in this game is down low, where power forwards John Collins and Lauri Markkanen will do battle to establish once and for all (okay, not really) who the best power forward is from the 2017 draft class. Chicago will be missing rookie center Wendell Carter Jr., who is out after undergoing surgery on his left thumb. Robin Lopez will likely start in his place, as all indications are that Lopez will remain with the Bulls for the last several weeks of the year. The visitors will also be missing Chandler Hutchison and Denzel Valentine, leaving them relatively thin in terms of wing depth.

Stay tuned throughout this fine Friday for all the latest news and notes from Atlanta.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Friday, March 1, 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)