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A deep dive into the 2021-22 Atlanta Hawks schedule

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The schedule is finally out. Let’s break it down.

Milwaukee Bucks v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Coming off of a successful playoff run where the Atlanta Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, there’s naturally a lot of excitement and anticipation to pick up where they left off.

To that end, the full NBA schedule for 2021-22 was released on Friday after it was revealed last week the Hawks would play on Christmas Day for the first time since 1989 at Madison Square Garden.

The release includes a return to the full 82 game schedule, as well as an October restart and the regular season scheduled to finish in April so, with that, let’s break each month down for the Atlanta Hawks.

There’s a lot of down time between now and the season opener at State Farm Arena, so let’s take a look at the schedule in a little more detail to see what the Hawks are dealing with.

Those who have been around for a while will know how this works: it’s the (somehow) fifth schedule breakdown I’ve done here at Peachtree Hoops...

Before we go any further, the projected opponent percentage for a month should be taken with a grain of salt — there are always teams that exceed expectations and teams that disappoint (though, in this case, teams that are a little underrated, such as the Knicks being a .500 rated team in Vegas). Added to that, there could still be trades before the off-season is all said and done that may change the perspective of some teams.

With all that said, let’s hop into the month of October:

Total games: 6

Home games: 2

Road games: 4

Back-to-backs: 1

Longest road trip: 3 games

Longest homestand: 1 game

Average projected opponent winning percentage (based on over/under totals from Caesars Sportbook): 45%

A home start for the Hawks will be a welcome beginning and it’ll be a packed out when Luka Doncic and the Mavs come to visit (televised nationally on TNT, one of 19 nationally televised games for the Hawks this season).

After that, the majority of games for the Hawks are on the road — with a stop back home against Detroit in between — including two tasty fixtures against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers, who will want swift revenge for their playoff exit at the hands of the Hawks in Game 7 in Philly.

Moving onto a jam-packed November:

Total games: 15

Home games: 8

Road games: 7

Back-to-backs: 4

Longest road trip: 4 games

Longest homestand: 4 games

Average projected opponent winning percentage: 51%

The Hawks have some very winnable home games (in theory), such as the Orlando Magic, the OKC Thunder and possibly the Washington Wizards/Charlotte Hornets. There does appear to be some very difficult road games, including a four-game Western Conference road trip towards the start of the month.

The one solace towards the end of that trip — ending in Denver — is a two-day off period between the Jazz game (first of two games against the Jazz in November) and the Denver game, but that does come off of the heels of a brutal Golden State, Utah back-to-back...

Some notable home games of course, such as the Knicks at home, as Jazz at State Farm Arena (always an entertaining one) as well as — perhaps most notably — the defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks.

If the Hawks can find some success on the road here, there’s a good opportunity to emerge from November with a really solid record as the schedule definitely eases up in terms of difficulty. A comforting three day off-period to end the month will help too.

Moving onto December:

Total games: 15

Home games: 8

Road games: 7

Back-to-backs: 2

Longest road trip: 2 games

Longest homestand: 3 games

Average projected opponent winning percentage: 46%

Aside from two games against the 76ers and one game against the Nets (also on ESPN) — and a tasty fixture against the Knicks at MSG — there’s a lot of winnable games in December for the Hawks here, such as the Rockets, two games against the Orlando Magic and two games against the Cavaliers.

A home-and-home against the Bulls will be interesting before a good opportunity to end 2021 on a high-note against the Cavaliers on the road. Four road games out of the last five to end the month will present its challenges but plenty of opportunity too.

To the new year:

Total games: 15

Home games: 9

Road games: 6

Back-to-backs: 2

Longest road trip: 4 games

Longest homestand: 4 games

Average projected opponent winning percentage: 53%

This looks to be a tough month for the Hawks. A four-game Western Conference road trip to begin, two games against the Los Angeles Lakers, three games against the Miami Heat and a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks for the Hawks’ annual MLK Day fixture (live on TNT).

However, once the Hawks negotiate the start of the month on the road, they have a largely home-heavy schedule to make up: eight home games out of nine after January 14th. It might not be enough to lighten a tough schedule in terms of difficulty but it can’t hurt.

For the shortened month of February:

Total games: 11

Home games: 6

Road games: 5

Back-to-backs: 2

Longest road trip: 2 games

Longest homestand: 2 games

Average projected winning percentage: 46%

The month begins as it means to kick-on: one of three games in February against the Toronto Raptors, two taking place before the All-Star break. Before that break, some tough road games against the Celtics (ABC) and Mavericks (ESPN) loom as well as a home fixture against the Phoenix Suns.

Despite that, some very winnable games for the Hawks in February too, including the final game before the break in Orlando, as well as home games against the Cavaliers and Spurs.

Next, March:

Total games: 15

Home games: 6

Road games: 9

Back-to-backs: 2

Longest road trip: 4 games

Longest homestand: 3 games

Average projected opponent winning percentage: 47%

A perhaps to be expected more road-heavy schedule in March — including four to begin the month. A mix of winnable games (two games against the Detroit Pistons, and the Thunder) but also some tough games on the road in Milwaukee (ESPN), Boston and New York (TNT).

A home tie against the Golden State Warriors towards the end of the month promises to be a lot fun as the Hawks look to zero on their playoff seeding.

Finally, to April:

Total games: 5

Home games: 2

Road games: 3

Back-to-backs: 1

Longest road trip: 2 games

Longest homestand: 1 game (x2)

Average projected winning percentage: 48%

A few winnable spots to close the season but that Brooklyn game and, maybe more so, that Miami game on the road will be of the utmost intrigue as the battle for seeding possibly reaches its peak.

All-in-all, I have certainly seen worse schedules for the Atlanta Hawks. No crazy seven-game road trips this season for the Hawks, their longest road trip coming in the form of two four-game road trips out West. As for their longest homestand, in comes at the end of January and into February, lasting six games.

January and March would appear to be the toughest months of the season for the Hawks (March more so for the number of road games) which should allow the Hawks a better start than last season, and with Nate McMillan at the helm from the get-go this time in season where there is an awful lot of continuity as almost every main roster member (pending possible trades) is returning as opposed to last season where the Hawks had to integrate major pieces like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari into the fold, as well as going through a mid-season coaching change.

There’s a lot of optimism for the Hawks on many different fronts heading into the new season and the beginning of this schedule can help add to that too as the Hawks look to return to the playoffs and take their journey just a couple of steps further...