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Preview: Hawks face stiff test on MLK Day

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NBA: Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

After two encouraging performances, the Atlanta Hawks fell flat in a lopsided defeat at home on Saturday evening. Less than 48 hours later, Lloyd Pierce’s team will be back on the floor and, this time around, the Toronto Raptors will visit State Farm Arena in a prime time slot.

The MLK Day matchup will be the second between the two teams this season, with the Raptors taking a three-point victory — despite a 30-point triple double from Trae Young — in Atlanta on Nov. 23. The visitors also enter this matchup on a three-game winning streak, with the Raptors now boasting a 28-14 record on the season. Atlanta does look a bit different than the earlier matchup, though, with John Collins, Kevin Huerter and Jeff Teague in uniform for the Hawks.

On the injury front, the Hawks project to be without Alex Len for the fourth straight game, with the team’s best center listed as doubtful with low back pain. Atlanta will also be without Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement) for the ninth straight contest, leaving the team short-handed in the frontcourt once again. On the Raptors side, the visitors will be at full strength.

That combination leaves the Hawks as underdogs at home, with the folks in Las Vegas currently installing the Raptors as eight-point favorites. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Atlanta can’t hang around but, in short, this is a significant test for Young, Collins and company.

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: Monday, Jan. 20, 2:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass