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Preview: Hawks aim for bounce-back against Pacers

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Friday night’s game ended with a thud for the Atlanta Hawks, with the team trailing by as many as 42 points in a lopsided defeat against the San Antonio Spurs. While the reserves did make things more interesting with an impressive stretch in the fourth quarter, Atlanta’s performance left plenty to be desired and, just 24 hours later, the Hawks return to action at home against the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers arrive with a 13-13 record overall and, coming into the 2020-21 campaign, Indiana was a projected playoff team. They are still playing at a solid overall level — including slightly above-average marks in both offensive and defensive efficiency — but the Pacers are just 2-6 in the last eight games, and they will be without their top two wing options, Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, for Saturday’s game.

Atlanta is also short-handed, missing its top two wings in De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the Hawks have lost five of the last six games as they drop in the Eastern Conference standings. Kris Dunn and Rajon Rondo remain out of action on Saturday, and the Hawks list Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) and Brandon Goodwin (right knee stiffness) as probable to play. Tony Snell (right Achilles soreness) is questionable.

The Hawks are on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Pacers are on regular rest. It is worth noting, though, that Atlanta should be more rested than usual in this circumstance, as the team’s core pieces did not play for the final quarter and a half on Friday. Still, four guaranteed absences and the potential for more, given the busy injury report, could prove treacherous.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Hawks were small underdogs (approximately 1.5 points) according to our friends in the desert. That outlines a virtual coin flip in this game and, while it would be unwise to make too much of any single game in February, Atlanta cannot afford to play as poorly as they did on Friday. The Pacers are a beatable opponent for the Hawks, particularly at home, but the Hawks will need to perform well in order to secure a much-needed victory.

Stay tuned for full coverage throughout the day.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Saturday, Feb. 13, 7:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go