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Preview: Hawks visit Grizzlies in road preseason opener

Atlanta Hawks v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks wrapped up their home preseason slate on Sunday with a win over the Orlando Magic. In that game, the Hawks flashed some of their intriguing potential on both ends of the floor and, after a few days or practice, Lloyd Pierce’s team hits the road for a two-game trip to Memphis with the first contest on Thursday evening.

The Hawks and Grizzlies are an intriguing match in that both rely on exceptionally talented lead guards in Trae Young and Ja Morant. However, Memphis led the NBA in points in the paint (55.9 per game) last season, and that is an area Pierce referenced as a challenge and focus in this two-game miniseries.

It has to be noted (again) that preseason games are far less about scoreboard results than they are about other takeaways, and that is doubly the case for a team that has not played in a regular season game for more than nine months. However, Memphis is a more dynamic opponent on the offensive end than Orlando presented, and the Hawks will need to raise their level defensively as a result.

On the injury front, the Hawks list Clint Capela (left Achilles soreness) as probable to play on Thursday, but there is more uncertainty elsewhere. Kevin Huerter (left ankle soreness) and Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) are both questionable, with Reddish missing the team’s previous game. Rajon Rondo (right knee soreness) is doubtful to play.

For the Grizzlies, second-year big man Brandon Clarke is questionable and Jontay Porter as doubtful. Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tillman, Killian Tillie and Justise Winslow are all out for Memphis.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest, with a game thread to arrive shortly before tip-off.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, Dec. 17, 8:00 pm ET

Location: FedEx Forum

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)