The Atlanta Hawks are playing some of their best basketball of the season. Trae Young, John Collins and company have won three straight games and, considering the level of competition, that is no small feat, even in late March. On Friday evening, the Hawks will put that winning streak on the line, however, as Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers arrive in Atlanta for their annual visit.
The marquee match-up of the evening is, quite obviously, Lillard against Young, with the All-NBA guard for Portland taking on the Rookie of the Year candidate (and reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week) for Atlanta. As usual, Lillard has been masterful this season in averaging 26.2 points, 6.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game, and Atlanta’s entire roster will have its hands full in attempting to deter him.
With that said, the Blazers will be short-handed in this spot, making the task a bit easier for the Hawks. Portland will be without its other standout guard in CJ McCollum and starting center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a brutal season-ending injury earlier in the week. As a result, the Hawks will face a team with weakened depth and, by proxy, the home team should have a greater opportunity to steal a victory.
In fact, the good folks in Las Vegas install the Hawks as only 3-point underdogs in this game and the point spread is often a good indicator of what to expect when tip-off arrives. Atlanta is reasonably healthy in comparison to Portland — Miles Plumlee, Alex Poythress and Omari Spellman are on the shelf with Taurean Prince doubtful with “bilateral foot soreness” — and it will be interesting to see how the team responds after a handful of impressive performances, especially if Prince is unable to play, forcing other wing options to the forefront.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest from State Farm Arena.
Game Date/Time: Friday, March 29, 7:30 pm ET
Location: State Farm Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go