The Atlanta Hawks square off against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at the Ball Arena in an enticing 2020-21 NBA matchup. This will be the second encounter between the two sides, with the Atlanta Hawks winning the first one, 123-115.
The Atlanta Hawks were victorious in their last outing, beating the Golden State Warriors 124-108. John Collins led the charge for them with a career-best 38 points and 12 boards, while Trae Young registered 21 points and 15 assists on the night. The win helped the Atlanta Hawks snap a two-game skid.
The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, also registered a win in their last game. They beat the New Orleans Pelicans 113-108, thanks to the exploits of Nikola Jokic (37 points), Michael Porter Jr. (25 points) and Jamal Murray (23 points). The Nuggets will be eager to build on a streak from here after managing just two wins in their last four outings.
Atlanta Hawks vs Denver Nuggets - Prediction
The Atlanta Hawks didn't start the season well but have recovered their mojo in recent games. Their overall record at the start of March was 14-20, but they have managed to improve that to 23-22 courtesy of their formidable run of nine wins in their last eleven outings.
However, the Denver Nuggets could probably be the Atlanta Hawks' toughest assignment since they commenced their run, considering the depth of the Nuggets roster.
The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, have had a good season this campaign. Despite being shorthanded on numerous occasions, they have managed to stay afloat in the stacked Western Conference and are now fifth in the standings. Their recent form has been indifferent, though. But they are a top team and should likely overcome their slump sooner rather than later.
The Denver Nuggets will head into this matchup as the favorites, as they also have homecourt advantage for this fixture. However, their performances against the so-called lesser teams in the league haven't been great, something they'll need to mindful of against the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta Hawks vs Denver Nuggets - Combined 5
Point Guard - Trae Young | Shooting Guard - Jamal Murray | Small Forward - Michael Porter Jr. | Power Forward - John Collins | Center - Nikola Jokic.
In a hypothetical combined lineup of the two teams, we have picked Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets as the backcourt pairing.
Trae Young is having yet another stellar season and is leading the scoring (25.7 points per game) and assists (9.5) for his side this campaign. His long-range shooting ability and exquisite ball-handling skills make him a must-have in any lineup.
Jamal Murray, meanwhile, has been the second-best player in the Denver Nuggets roster this season. He endured a difficult start to his campaign, failing to replicate his heroics from the Orlando bubble. But since then, he has found his rhythm, averaging 21.1 points, five assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game so far.
The forwards for this hypothetical combined five lineup would be Denver Nuggets Michael Porter Jr. and Atlanta Hawks' John Collins.
These two young stars have been in great form lately, producing game-winning performances and helping their respective teams achieve key wins. Porter is averaging 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in his last ten outings, while Collins is tallying 20.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during the same period.
The center position in this hypothetical lineup would be taken up by Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets.
His counterpart Clint Capela has been in great form too, but Jokic is operating at another level and is also one of the frontrunners to win the NBA MVP award this season. Jokic is averaging 27.2 points, 8.6 assists, 11.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game this season (all team-high).