The Atlanta Hawks (14-15) are on the road again on Friday evening to take on the Charlotte Hornets (7-21). Despite those win-loss records, the Hawks are actually underdogs heading into the matchup, but there’s a bit of injury context there. The Hornets are getting healthier after being banged up right out of the gates early this season, while Atlanta obviously has seen their injury situation snowball in recent weeks with three starters now on the shelf.
Charlotte got back starting point guard LaMelo Ball on Wednesday, and they have a decent shot at getting back veteran forward Gordon Hayward for Friday’s game. The Hawks meanwhile will still be without Dejounte Murray and John Collins, while standout center Clint Capela is also now injured. With all of that factored in, as well as how poorly Atlanta has been playing on the road lately (four straight losses away from home), it’s not unreasonable to have the Hawks as the underdog in this spot.
You can throw the net ratings and season stats out the window in this matchup, as the Hawks have played the vast majority of their season with Capela, while the Hornets have played most of their games without Ball or Hayward. The Hawks could make an argument they have the best player on the floor in this spot in Trae Young, but the way he’s played of late doesn’t exactly inspire optimism. Young has a career low 28.5% mark from three-point range, and also is shooting a career-low in FG% despite averaging the most shot attempts of his career.
It’s been tough sledding for Atlanta of late, as they have lost seven of their last ten games and slipped all the way down to the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks desperately need a road win (or any win, for that matter), but it will be tough on Friday with three starters still out of the lineup.
The Hawks will be without three starters for this one, with Capela (right calf strain), Collins (left ankle sprain) and Murray (left ankle sprain) all listed as out.
The Hornets list Hayward as questionable to return (left shoulder), while Cody Martin, Dennis Smith Jr. and Mark Williams are listed as out.
The Hawks are 2.5-point underdogs on the road vs. Charlotte as of early Friday afternoon. The over/under total is at 240.
Game Date & Time: Fri. Dec. 16, 7:00 pm ET
Location: Spectrum Center
TV: BSSE, NBA League Pass (out of market)
Streaming: Bally Sports App, NBA League Pass (out of market)
Radio: 92.9 The Game