It’s not exactly groundbreaking to say that the Atlanta Hawks have struggled recently. The team is 3-7 during its last 10 games, including home losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers over the last few days. With a road game against the Charlotte Hornets tonight, the Hawks will look to build up some momentum before the playoffs arrive.
Unfortunately, the team will be without Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore. Millsap did not play in Saturday’s loss to Portland, and his absence was evident throughout the contest. Bazemore is a little easier to replace than Millsap on a game-by-game basis, but his absence is important too. Without two of their starters, tonight could be a difficult contest for the Hawks.
Fortunately for the team, the Hornets have struggled through their own issues this season, and currently sit at 30-39. Currently well out of a playoff spot, Charlotte can’t be happy with how this season has gone. Interestingly though, Basketball-Reference shows that the Hornets have an expected record of 36-33, meaning that this team could be much better than its record suggests. Atlanta — as many know — has a negative point differential, meaning that the team has over-performed its expected win/loss record. Charlotte has done the opposite.
Although it may not be immediately obvious, tonight is a really important game for the Hawks. The team has struggled through several lackluster performances over the last few weeks, and several more tough games are coming up on the schedule. Atlanta will play Washington on Wednesday night, for example, a game that will be extremely difficult without Millsap and Bazemore. The Hornets are better than their record, and could easily win tonight if the Hawks don’t play well.
Game Date/Time: Monday, March 20, 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM