The Atlanta Hawks didn’t experience a great deal of success in the month of February, producing a disappointing 4-11 record for the month. However, there were some highs along the way, and one positive data point arrived on Feb. 21 with an impressive home win over the Denver Nuggets. More than a month later, each team looks a bit different, but the Hawks and Nuggets will face off in a rematch in Denver on Sunday evening.
Both teams picked up road wins on Friday evening, with the Hawks disposing of the Golden State Warriors and the Nuggets toppling the New Orleans Pelicans. That win improved Denver’s overall record to 27-18 this season, and the Nuggets are one of the eight teams with both a better record and net rating (+4.7) than the Hawks.
Mike Malone’s team owns a top-five offense, scoring 116.7 points per 100 possessions this season. While the Nuggets have depth and relative balance, they are unquestionably keyed by Nikola Jokic, with the talented big man operating at a level befitting of MVP candidacy. Jokic is averaging 27.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game this season, and he is flanked by Jamal Murray, who is putting up 21.1 points per game and converting more than 41 percent of his three-point attempts.
Denver is tremendous on the offensive end, but the Nuggets do have a below-average defense this season, giving up 1.12 points per possession. To that end, the Hawks will likely need to score at a high level in order to pull of a road upset. There is optimism with the way Atlanta played on Friday evening, though, and the recent play of Trae Young and John Collins — in addition to a positive career track record for Clint Capela against Jokic — leads to some level of optimism.
De’Andre Hunter (right knee soreness) is listed as questionable for the Hawks after missing Friday’s win in San Francisco. In his absence, Solomon Hill returned to the rotation as a backup small forward, with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter and Tony Snell rounding out the wing rotation.
Lou Williams (not with team) is listed as out, with Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery) and Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) also out of action.
On Denver’s side, the main injury concern is with steady-handed guard Monte Morris. He is out for this game with a left quadriceps strain.
At the time of this post, the Hawks are 4.5-point underdogs for Sunday night’s game. That number could certainly change, particularly once Hunter’s status is known. Still, Atlanta faces a real challenge in this spot.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, Mar. 28, 9:00 pm ET
Location: Ball Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go