Last year, the Atlanta Hawks announced their preseason schedule on August 19 and regular season schedule the following day. It is safe to assume that Hawks fans will get to unpack both schedules for the 2022-23 campaign this week.
The NBA immediately capitalized on the exciting 2021 playoff series between New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks by scheduling a Christmas Day contest between the budding rivals. It was the Hawks first game on Christmas since 1989.
Unfortunately, Trae Young's highly-anticipated return to Madison Square Garden was delayed due to the All-Star point guard testing positive for Covid on December 19, 2021. It was far from the contest the league had hoped for when they scheduled the matchup for its nationally-televised noon eastern timeslot.
Both the Hawks and the Knicks regressed last season. Luckily, the Hawks still made the playoffs. Plus, they added another All-Star in Dejounte Murray this offseason. Will that be enough to get the Hawks back on Christmas Day? We will find out soon. In the meantime, below are five intriguing matchups that we would like to see on the major holiday.
Potential Christmas Day Games
There is no escaping the comparisons between Trae Young and Luka Doncic. After the blockbuster trade at the 2018 NBA Draft, the two guards will forever be linked together.
Both Young and Doncic have emerged as perennial All-Stars and potential faces of the league. A Christmas Day matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks would intrigue the most casual of fans.
The basketball world was robbed of a matchup between Trae Young and Ja Morant last season. The Hawks won a lopsided game in November 2021 after Morant left with a sprained left knee. Then Young missed the rematch in March 2022 with a bruised left quad.
An interconference matchup between two young, dynamic point guards would be must-see television. The Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks only face each other twice a year; the NBA would be wise to elevate the rare matchup.
The last time the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets played was an instant classic. Kevin Durant scored a career-high 55 points, and it still wasn't enough for the Nets. Trae Young led the Hawks to victory with 36 points and 10 assists.
Not to mention all of the trade rumors surrounding Durant that link the two teams. Plus, it would give Ben Simmons a chance to avenge the embarrassing 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinal loss where he last saw action.
It is hard to call it a rivalry when a series is so one-sided. Last year the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat played each other four times in the regular season and five times in the postseason. The Heat won seven of the contests.
Even worse, the ultra-physical team bullied the Hawks in their short playoff series. This game could give the new-look Hawks a chance to even the score. Christmas Day in South Beach, who says no?
New York Knicks
Last year the short-handed Hawks got it handed to them by the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. Several key Hawks players, including Trae Young, were out with Covid, while other players would test positive the following day.
The rivalry between the Hawks and Knicks will always be fueled by the New Yorkers' strange love-hate feelings for Young. Let's run it back again this year, except schedule the game in Atlanta this time.
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