Atlanta Hawks Game Preview: Second Crack at West-Leading Nuggets

The Atlanta Hawks play tonight against the Denver Nuggets in the second meeting between the two teams this season.

The last time these two teams met, the Atlanta Hawks were laughed off the floor in Denver. The Nuggets completely eviscerated the Hawks by a final margin of 138 to 93, a humiliating 45-point drubbing for those of you who don’t want to do the math.

The Nuggets are experiencing one of the best starts in franchise history, and they currently sit atop the loaded Western Conference with a record of 17-7, just ahead of the Thunder (16-7) and the similarly surprising LA Clippers (16-8).

Both of these teams come in with lengthy streaks that are representative of each franchise’s current state of affairs. The Nuggets have won 7 straight on the strength of the team’s 5th-ranked defense, while the Atlanta Hawks are 5-20 on the year and have lost 4 straight games.

The Nuggets are winning on the back of an amazing season from Nikola Jokic as well as the resurgence of former Hawk legend Paul Millsap. Jokic’s scoring average might be down (16.5 PPG vs. 18.5 last year), but his assist numbers are way (7.8 APG vs. 6.1 last year). A 7-foot-tall center averaging nearly 8 assists per game is patently absurd, and easily makes Jokic the greatest passing center in NBA history already.

For the Hawks, with Taurean Prince out for a few weeks, the return of Kent Bazemore to the starting lineup means that the Trae Young/Kevin Huerter backcourt (or Ice Trae/Red Pepper if you prefer) will have to be broken up for the time being.

The Atlanta Hawks have had a rough go of it here recently, as they are overmatched in terms of talent and experience on most nights. Expect a big night from John Collins, though, as he continued to pile up career-highs seemingly every night.

Next: Hawks Team Awards at the Quarter-Season Mark

Tip-off for the Nuggets game is slated for 7:30 p.m. EST.

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