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Preview: Hawks host red-hot Jazz, aim to avoid three-game skid

Atlanta Hawks v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

UPDATE: Trae Young is OUT for Thursday’s game.

The Utah Jazz are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, riding the wave of 12 victories in the last 13 games. One of the wins came at home against the Atlanta Hawks in mid-January and, a few weeks later, the Hawks will aim to return the favor on Thursday evening at State Farm Arena.

Utah blitzed Atlanta to the tune of a 24-point margin in the first meeting, and the Jazz also have a rest advantage in this match-up. The Hawks fell at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, while the Jazz had Wednesday off to travel to Atlanta. In addition to that inherent edge for the visitors, Utah is playing at a very high level overall.

The Jazz rank in the top five of the NBA in both offensive and defensive rating, landing fourth in the league in net rating in out-scoring opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions. From there, Utah’s entire rotation is healthy, which stands in stark contrast to the continuing injury woes for Atlanta.

The Hawks will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kris Dunn once again on Thursday, with De’Andre Hunter (knee) set to miss his third straight game. However, there is even more to monitor before tip-off, with Kevin Huerter (left ankle soreness) is probable and Onyeka Okongwu (left Achilles soreness) listed as questionable.

The big storyline, though, is the status of Trae Young (right calf contusion), who is listed as questionable. Atlanta’s offense has sputtered mightily anytime Young leaves the floor this season and, quite obviously, the Hawks would have a (much) more difficult time in this game if he is unable to play.

From a match-up perspective, the Jazz have strengths in a few areas that could be troublesome for the Hawks. Atlanta is a very good rebounding team, but Utah currently leads the NBA on the glass and, while the Hawks are elite at creating free throw attempts, the Jazz are No. 2 in the league in free throw rate allowed.

To that end, the Hawks face an uphill battle on paper, with the Jazz entering as 7.5-point road favorites in the betting market. Atlanta does have home-court advantage to help, however, and the Hawks are more than capable of putting together a complete game to pull the mild upset.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, Feb. 4, 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)