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Following a much-needed victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on MLK Day, Trae Young said, "Hopefully, this is a good turning point for us really to string together some wins and get back rolling. But you have to take it one game at a time, and we're going to do that."

Young spoke for all of us when he expressed cautious optimism. The Atlanta Hawks are four games out of the final play-in spot, and time is beginning to run out on the season. Luckily, they have the best point guard in the Eastern Conference on their team. Young averages 27.7 points and 9.4 assists per game, no other player in the NBA is top-four in both categories.

Offense has never been the problem for the Hawks as they have the second-best offensive rating in the NBA. Unfortunately, they also have the third-worst defensive rating and hemorrhage 112 points per game to their opponents. If there is any silver lining, it's the return of Onyeka Okongwu who patrols the paint with a sense of fearlessness that belies his age.

While the Hawks have struggled with an identity crisis this season, the Timberwolves know exactly who they are, thanks to their big three. Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards account for 60% of the team's offensive production. An offense that plays with pace and shoots more threes than any other team in the NBA.

Even more impressive than their run-and-gun offense, the T'Wolves have a top-ten defensive rating which has placed them squarely in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff birth. When the T'Wolves lost to the Hawks on December 6, they didn't have Russell. Tonight, Russell will be available and pressuring the Hawks shaky perimeter defense.

Injury Report

We are still waiting on an official injury report since the T'Wolves played just hours ago in Madison Square Garden. However, we do know they are without Jordan McLaughlin. Meanwhile, the Hawks list Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) and Clint Capela (ankle) as out for tonight's game. That's now three straight games where the two starters have been out of action.


SI Sportsbook lists the Hawks as 2-point favorites, and the over/under is 233.5. You have heard me mention many times how bad the Hawks are at covering the spread. They have the worst record (16-27) in the NBA against the spread. Additionally, the T'Wolves are above-average against the spread (23-21), including as road underdogs (10-6) and no rest (3-2).

As always, we will have you covered during and after the game. Thank you for your continued support of Sports Illustrated's

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