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Preview: Hawks face Clippers, aim to maintain winning streak

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There is an encouraging sight on the injury report.

Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The month of March has been (very) kind to the Atlanta Hawks. Nate McMillan and company have won eight consecutive games — the team’s longest such streak since 2015 — and Atlanta remains unblemished for the month. That uptick includes a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday afternoon and, after a break on Sunday, the Hawks return to the same floor at STAPLES Center to take on the L.A. Clippers on Monday evening.

The Hawks won the first meeting between the teams in Atlanta, toppling the Clippers in January. Of note, the Clippers were without both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in that matchup. L.A. enters as the No. 3 offense in the NBA on a per-possession basis, with quality perimeter options headlined by Leonard and George. The Clippers are also a top-six team in net rating, illustrating their overall effectiveness.

Atlanta is, of course, playing much better basketball in recent days, and that shows up with a +1.8 net rating through 42 games. That places the Hawks at No. 9 in the NBA, and Atlanta is currently in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference after the Miami Heat suffered a loss on Sunday. Beyond that, the Hawks could receive an injection of talent after a long absence.

Injuries

De’Andre Hunter (right knee surgery) has been upgraded to questionable after missing the last 23 games. Though a questionable distinction does not ensure his return on Monday, it is undeniably encouraging to see the second-year forward listed as anything but “out,” and this upgrade could signal that his return is near, even if not necessarily in this game.

Elsewhere, Trae Young (right quad contusion) is listed as probable. Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) and Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery) are out.

On the Clippers side, Patrick Beverley (knee) and Serge Ibaka (back) are out.

The Line

Even with Hunter potentially available, the Hawks are listed as 6-point road underdogs at the time of this post. Given Atlanta’s winning streak, it may seem odd to see this kind of point spread, but the Clippers are a strong opponent, and they are 14-6 in their home building this season.

Regardless, this should be a highly competitive and intriguing game between two fun teams. Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, Mar. 22, 10:00 pm ET

Location: STAPLES Center

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

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

Streaming: Fox Sports Go