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Preview: Hawks open 2020 with road test in Boston

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Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The final datapoint of 2019 was a positive one for the Atlanta Hawks, with a streak-busting victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday. After three days and the flipping of the calendar to 2020, Lloyd Pierce’s team will be back in action on Friday evening with a significant challenge against the Boston Celtics.

The headliner of the evening is the projected return of Trae Young, with the second-year guard missing the last two games with a sprained ankle. Pierce revealed on Thursday that Young is expected to play against Boston, and that was backed up by a complete removal from Atlanta’s official injury report. In fact, the Hawks could have their full complement of options, with Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement) listed as probable after missing the last three games. Kevin Huerter (mid-back pain) is also listed as probable.

It is also possible that the Celtics could be weakened from an availability perspective, with Kemba Walker (illness) listed as questionable. Walker reportedly had 103 degree fever and “flu-like symptoms” as of Thursday and, if the point guard was unable to play, Boston’s offense would take a hit. Jaylen Brown is also listed on the injury report with illness, but the Wheeler High School product is probable to play.

From a point spread perspective, there isn’t full information available, presumably due to Walker’s uncertainty. Both teams are on full rest, with the Celtics not playing since Tuesday, and Boston also has home-court advantage (and a 13-2 record at TD Garden) in addition to the superior roster in this spot.

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. 3, 7:00 pm ET

Location: TD Garden

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass