Atlanta Hawks vs. Dallas Mavericks
When: 8:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 7, 2017
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
|711||ATLANTA||3.5 (-110)||197 (-110)||-125
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
PREDICTION: Mavericks 103, Hawks 101
Oddsmakers currently have the Hawks listed as 3.5-point favorites versus the Mavericks, while the game’s total is sitting at 197.
The Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks are each in a state of flux going into Saturday night’s clash at American Airlines Center.
The Hawks have begun what appears to be a roster overhaul by trading popular shooter Kyle Korver to the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. More deals could be made before the Feb. 23 trade deadline, with Paul Millsap and Thabo Sefolosha likely on the block.
Millsap and Sefolosha, like Korver, are on expiring contracts.
The Hawks (20-16) began Friday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and with a five-game winning streak. But just two seasons ago, Atlanta went 60-22 to claim the top seed in the East before slumping to 48-34 last year.
That slide, coupled with the uncertain futures of several veterans, had the front office looking for more change. Since last season, the Hawks have also lost starters Al Horford and Jeff Teague.
Millsap, the only starter left from the 60-win team in 2014-15, declined to offer an opinion the franchise’s direction.
“Not my place,” he told reporters. “My job is to get out there and play basketball. I’m going to miss Kyle but other than that, life goes on, the season goes on. You just have to be ready for whatever happens. Right now, we have to win basketball games.”
The Mavericks (11-25) are coming off a demoralizing home loss Thursday night to Phoenix. Not only did the 102-95 setback drop Dallas back into the Western Conference cellar, it likely signaled roster changes to come.
Backup center Andrew Bogut doesn’t necessarily want to leave Dallas, but acknowledged why a trade would make sense. For a team likely headed to the lottery, a big man of Bogut’s value could fetch draft picks and/or young talent needed to rebuild.
Though the Mavericks continue to insist that the playoffs this season remain their goal, losing on their floor to lottery-bound Phoenix was a big blow. Dallas is 4 1/2 games out of eighth in the West.
Dirk Nowitzki has been starting at center with Bogut’s move to the bench. Nowitzki has been working his way back into game shape after missing four weeks with Achilles soreness.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle isn’t ready to pronounce Nowitzki close to 100 percent. Nowitzki has averaged 11.5 points on 39.1-percent shooting in his six games since coming back.
He scored 13 on 5-of-14 shooting in the loss to the Suns.
“I think it’s too early to judge any of that stuff,” Carlisle said. “Last year there was all that talk about (Chandler) Parsons struggling and I said, ‘Hey, don’t judge it until after the All-Star break’, and that may be what we’re looking at with him.
“This has been a long road, so the good thing is he’s moving better. He’s obviously feeling good, or else we wouldn’t have him out there and we’re a team that’s still trying to put things together, so I don’t know if pinning it on him is the way to go. I don’t think it is.”
Atlanta owns a five-game winning streak against the Mavs, including the last two in meetings in Dallas.