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Preview: Hawks face Mavericks to begin home back-to-back

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2020 NBA All-Star - Rising Stars Game Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

For the first time since Dec. 13, 2018, Trae Young and Luka Doncic are scheduled to share the court — in a non-exhibition setting — on Wednesday night at State Farm Arena. The Atlanta Hawks host the Dallas Mavericks in a cross-conference clash, with the Hawks aiming to climb above .500 after falling to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday evening.

The Mavericks enter the game on a six-game losing streak, falling all the way to 8-13 on the season. Dallas led the NBA in offensive rating last season but, through 21 games, the Mavericks are scoring only 1.09 points per possession, falling below the league-average mark. While some of that can be attributed to the Mavericks missing key pieces throughout the season as a result of COVID-19 and the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Dallas certainly isn’t playing its best basketball as the team arrives in Atlanta.

The Hawks and Mavericks split two meetings last season, though Doncic did not appear in either contest. As such, there is a bit of increased attention on a game that would already have widespread appeal, and Young is playing at a very high level right now. Atlanta’s star guard is averaging approximately 32 points and 10 assists in the last eight games, connecting on 44 percent of his three-point attempts and nearly 90 percent of his free throw offerings.

From an injury standpoint, Dallas is virtually at full strength, which is important to note, especially when compared to Atlanta’s situation. In addition to Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kris Dunn remaining on the sideline, the Hawks will be without De’Andre Hunter (knee) for this game. Onyeka Okongwu (left Achilles soreness) is also listed as questionable after missing Monday’s tilt.

At the time of this post on Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, only a few outlets have a point spread on the game, but they actually list the Mavericks as a (very small) favorite in Atlanta. Regardless of where that number lands by tip-off, this projects to be a highly competitive game, and it is also a contest prime to generate overreaction on all sides.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:30 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

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

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