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Preview: Hawks, Hornets set for Play-In showdown

The winner of this game will be on the road in Cleveland Friday night for a matchup with the Cavaliers.

Charlotte Hornets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets are set for battle in the second game of the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. The Brooklyn Nets punched their ticket to the Play-In on Tuesday evening with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will host the winner of the Hawks-Hornets game on Friday for the rights to the No. 8 seed.

The Hawks and Hornets split their season series 2-2, though this one-game scenario will likely be played in much different fashion than a regular season affair. What the regular season can tell us is that both of these teams excel on the offensive end of the court. Charlotte loves to run the floor with LaMelo Ball dishing out dimes in transition, while Trae Young and the Hawks have excelled in the halfcourt. It should be an interesting battle of somewhat contrasting styles.

Atlanta will look to continue their dominance on their home floor, as they closed the season 19-3 in their last 22 games at home. Young, the NBA’s regular season leader in total points and assists, will look to rise to the occasion like he did so often during the 2021 postseason. The All-Star guard helped lead the Hawks to the NBA’s second-best offensive rating.

Charlotte was the sixth-best offense this season in terms of efficiency, and slightly better than the Hawks on the defensive end. They have already won in State Farm Arena this season, and have enough offensive weapons to give Atlanta fits. A one game setting is super unpredictable, and the Hornets can be one of the streakiest teams in the league.

Things like three-point shooting, the turnover battle and the free-throw disparity can obviously be big swing factors in a one-game Play-in. The Hawks committed the fewest turnovers in the NBA this season (11.9 per game), a number that also set a franchise record for fewest giveaways. Atlanta (2nd) and Charlotte (6th) both rank near the top of the league in three-point percentage.

Each side will be missing a key contributor, as both Gordon Hayward and John Collins will miss the game Wednesday for their respective sides. Both players have missed extended time this season, so the absences should be manageable despite the caliber of each player.

Injuries

For the Hawks, Lou Williams (low back discomfort) and Collins (foot, finger) are out.

The Hornets will only be without Hayward (foot).

Odds

The Hawks are a 4.5-point favorite vs. the Hornets as of early Wednesday morning. The point total is sitting at o/u 236.

Game Info

Game Date & Time: Weds. Apr. 13, 7 pm ET

Location: State Farm Arena

TV: ESPN

Streaming: ESPN App/Espn.com

Radio: 92.9 The Game, ESPN Radio

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