One step forwards, two steps back. That's the way it sometimes feels with this team - often through no fault of their own. Last night they got a much-needed win over a short-handed Bucks. Unfortunately, the euphoria didn't last long, as fans were hit with this tweet once they got home and checked their phones.
Honestly, this news hurts. Not only because Hunter is a vital piece of the Hawks rotation and they need his two-way play, but because this 23-year-old has suffered through so many injuries in his short career. If there is a silver lining, it's not another lower-body injury which he's dealt with in the past, so that's promising.
As for the Orlando Magic, they began their rebuild last spring when they hosted a fire sale at the trade deadline. The Magic are now 3-10. However, they've beaten two playoffs teams (Utah Jazz, New York Knicks). So the Hawks cannot afford to sleep on this young roster.
It's no surprise that second-year player Cole Anthony leads the Magic in points (19.5) and assists (5.2). Anthony is both the heart and soul of the team, as well as the offensive engine. He has a respectable 25% usage rate for a team that doesn't run a lot of pick-and-rolls (19th in the league). Unfortunately for the Magic, they are still struggling on both ends of the court and next to last in net rating (-9.4).
The Magic will be without Markelle Fultz (knee), Jonathan Isaac (knee), E'Twaun Moore (knee), Michael Carter-Williams (ankle). In addition, Jalen Suggs (ankle) is questionable after exiting the Wizards game early.
While we still wait on an official injury report from the Hawks, we can go ahead and count De'Andre Hunter (wrist) and Onyeka Okongwu (shoulder) as out. Since it's the second night of a back-to-back, don't be surprised if a few players are scratched later today.
SI Sportsbook has the Hawks listed as 10.5-point favorites. You read that right. Yes, the Hawks should win this game with ease. But that's a big spread. Hopefully, the Hawks can live up to expectations and take care of business tonight.
A lot of Hawks fans are still reeling from the news regarding De'Andre Hunter's wrist. At least the team is at home for the next four matchups and should be considered favorites in the next six. But like Coach McMillan said after the road trip ended Friday night, this team has to start making up some ground. That arduous task continues tonight without Hunter.