The Atlanta Hawks return home from a frustrating three-game road trip with a Friday night matchup vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. The Hawks dropped the final two games of the trip, with both losses feeling like devastating blows. Atlanta will now try to pick up the pieces as they return home for another tough opponent.
The Clippers, despite being without Kawhi Leonard for all of the season, and Paul George for much of the season, are the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and should be in good position to hold that spot going into the playoffs if they can play .500 basketball or better the rest of the way.
Atlanta will be strong favorites vs. a banged up Los Angeles group at home on Friday, and they desperately need a victory following back-to-back losses to end the road trip. The Hawks made an effort at a comeback vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, but came up short in semi-maddening fashion. The Bucks abused Atlanta in the paint out of the gates, and were the recipient of a favorable whistle in the eyes of some.
The Hawks will need to do a better job defending the rim on Friday, and that task should prove to be far less difficult without Giannis Antetokounmpo on the floor for the opposition. Atlanta did however lose the rebound battle 47-39 in their January loss to the Clippers out west. Amir Coffey led all LA scorers with 21 points in that game, as the Hawks mustered just 93 points in defeat.
Los Angeles actually has a negative net rating for the season, and that obviously includes the 26 games George played. The Clippers are a tough team that has found ways to win close games this season. If the Hawks find themselves in another close one on Friday night, they will need to begin to figure out ways to improve on their clutch offense, which has been the third-worst in the NBA this season in terms of efficiency at -16.4 points per 100 possessions.
The Hawks listed no players on their injury report on Thursday evening. Los Angeles will be without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Robert Covington, Norman Powell, Jason Preston and Jay Scrubb for Friday’s contest.
The Hawks are 6-point favorites vs. the Clippers as of early Friday morning, for those who may be interested.
Game Date & Time: Fri. Mar. 11, 7:30 pm ET
Location: State Farm Arena
TV: BSSE, League Pass (out of market)
Streaming: Bally Sports App, League Pass (out of market)
Radio: 92.9 The Game
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