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Preview: Hawks search for road win in Washington

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Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks have participated in 38 games during the 2019-20 season. None of them have featured the Washington Wizards on the opposing sideline. Considering the divisional rivalry between the teams, it is a bit strange that the Hawks and Wizards haven’t matched up but, on Friday, the first of four match-ups will take place, with the first battle occurring in the nation’s capital.

Atlanta’s schedule hasn’t been terribly forgiving this week with home games against quality teams in the Nuggets and Rockets, with back-to-back losses arriving as a result. The Wizards present a more favorable opportunity for the Hawks, though, and that optimism begins with the fact that Washington deploys the NBA’s worst defense.

To be fair, the Hawks rank near the bottom of the league in defensive rating but Washington takes things to a new level. The Wizards do have a high-powered offense, though, with Scott Brooks’ team featuring in the top ten in offensive rating.

On the injury front, the Hawks will again be without Jabari Parker (shoulder) and Bruno Fernando (personal reasons), though the rest of the team’s injury report is clean. Washington is short-handed without players like Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant, but the biggest injury domino arrives with Bradley Beal. Washington’s best player is listed as questionable for the game with leg soreness and his status will be important to monitor. The Wizards do get Davis Bertans back for the first time since Dec. 21 but, in what has been a rare occurrence this season, the Hawks are the healthier club.

With some of the uncertainty in mind, most outlets don’t have a point spread available but the ones that do install the Wizards as small favorites. To put it plainly, this is a (very) winnable game for Atlanta. Whether the visitors can actually escape with a victory is another thing entirely, though, and it will be interesting to see what transpires.

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: Friday, Jan. 10, 7:00 pm ET

Location: Capital One Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass