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Preview: Hawks, Knicks set to square off on Christmas Day

The shorthanded Hawks will look for a Christmas Day victory.

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks are set to battle as the first game of the NBA’s 2021 Christmas Day slate. The long awaited matchup may be a bit tainted, as Hawks star guard Trae Young is not expected to clear the NBA’s health and safety protocols in time to play in this one. The Hawks now have nine players in the NBA protocols after center Onyeka Okongwu and newly signed forward Wes Iwundu were added on Friday morning.

New York has just three players in health and safety protocols as of Friday: Nerlens Noel, Miles McBride and Kevin Knox.

The Hawks and Knicks have both struggled this season after meeting in the playoffs earlier this year. Both sit on the outside looking in as far as the playoff picture is concerned as of Dec. 25. Each side is looking to find momentum to get back to the postseason, but the Hawks most of all are just looking to get their team back together at the moment.

Injuries

Cam Reddish and Delon Wright are probable after leaving Thursday’s game early vs. the 76ers with ankle injuries. De’Andre Hunter (wrist) and Solomon Hill (hamstring injury) remain out for the Hawks. Young, Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela, Lou Williams, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Huerter, Sharife Cooper, Onyeka Okongwu and Iwundu are all still in the league health and safety protocols, and are likely out for Christmas Day.

The Hawks should have these players available for Saturday’s game, unless they have more players added to league protocol: Wright (probable), Reddish (probable), Bogdan Bogdanovic, John Collins, Skylar Mays, Gorgui Dieng, Jalen Johnson, Lance Stephenson and Malcolm Hill.

The Knicks will be without guard Derrick Rose in addition to the three players listed in health and safety protocols (Noel, McBride, Knox).

The Line

The short-staffed Hawks come in as 7-point underdogs vs. the Knicks as of Friday evening, for those who may be interested.

Game Info

Game Date & Time: Sat. Dec. 25, 12 pm ET

Location: Madison Square Garden

TV: ESPN

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Streaming: ESPN

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