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Preview: Hawks aim to maintain positive trajectory against Nuggets

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: John Collins (back contusion) and Cam Reddish (right wrist sprain) have been upgraded to probable as of Monday afternoon. Damian Jones (right adductor tension) is now questionable. Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement) is now doubtful.

The Atlanta Hawks are trending in the right direction, winning two of the last three games and putting together a strong performance in a win on Saturday. On Monday night, however, the Hawks face a substantial challenge, with the Denver Nuggets aiming to even the season series in their only visit to Atlanta.

In November, the Hawks pulled off a road upset over the Nuggets behind a 42-point outburst from Trae Young. For a long time, that team-wide performance was a shining light in the darkness for Atlanta but, in one particular respect, it was a damaging night in that Kevin Huerter missed the next 11 games after injuring his shoulder.

In recent days, though, Huerter seems to be turning a corner. He is averaging 16.5 points and shooting 41 percent from three-point range over the last six games, and with the Hawks limited at times by injury, the second-year wing taking a step forward would be a huge development.

On the injury front, there is real uncertainty with regard to how the Hawks will line up when tip-off arrives on Monday evening. DeAndre’ Bembry (right elbow and hip contusion) and Damian Jones (right adductor tension) appear likely to play with probable designations. With that said, John Collins (back contusion), Cam Reddish (right wrist sprain) and Jabari Parker (throat infection) are questionable after all three players missed Atlanta’s victory on Saturday.

With that uncertainty, there is not a widely available point spread as of Monday morning. It is safe to assume that the Hawks will be underdogs against a full-strength Nuggets team but, particularly in the case of Collins, Atlanta’s projection could vary considerably by which players are available to play.

The Nuggets are just 1-2 on their current road trip, but Denver is one of only a handful of teams with top-12 units on offense and defense. As such, this is a real test for the Hawks and it will be interesting to see how they respond to a bit of recent prosperity.

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. 6, 7:30 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