Last year, the Atlanta Hawks announced their preseason schedule on August 19 and their regular season schedule the following day. Expect Hawks fans to be able to unbox both schedules for the 2022-23 campaign this week.
The NBA immediately capitalized on the exciting 2021 playoff series between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks by scheduling a Christmas Day contest between the budding rivals. It was the Hawks’ first Christmas game since 1989.
Unfortunately, Trae Young’s much-anticipated return to Madison Square Garden was delayed because the all-star point guard tested positive for Covid on December 19, 2021. It was a far cry from the competition the league was hoping for when it scheduled the matchup for his nationally televised Noon East timeslot.
Both the Hawks and the Knicks declined last season. Fortunately, the Hawks still made it to the playoffs. They also added another All-Star this offseason in Dejounte Murray. Will that be enough to get the Hawks back on Christmas Day? We’ll find out soon. In the meantime, below are five intriguing matchups we’d love to see on the big holiday.
Possible Christmas games
There’s no getting around the comparisons between Trae Young and Luka Doncic. After the blockbuster trade in the 2018 NBA draft, the two guards will be linked forever.
Both Young and Doncic have become perennial All-Stars and potential faces of the league. A Christmas Day matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the Dallas Mavericks would intrigue the most casual of fans.
The basketball world was deprived of a duel 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 March 2022 rematch with an injured left quadriceps.
An interconference matchup between two young, dynamic point guards would be a must-see on TV. The Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks only face off twice a year; The NBA would be wise to step up the rare matchup.
The last time the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets played was an instant classic. Kevin Durant posted 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 the Durant trade rumors that tie the two teams together. Plus, it would give Ben Simmons a chance to avenge the embarrassing 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals loss he was last in action at.
It’s hard to call it a rivalry when a show 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.
Worse, the ultra-physical team bullied the Hawks in their brief playoff streak. 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, it was presented to the undermanned Hawks by the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. Several key Hawks players, including Trae Young, were out with Covid, while other players tested positive the next day.
The rivalry between the Hawks and Knicks is always fueled by New Yorkers’ odd love-hate relationship with Young. Let’s do it again this year, except this time you’re scheduling the game in Atlanta.
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