Hawks 2021 Schedule: Top Games, Updated Championship Odds and PredictionsFebruary 24, 2021
Despite some injury issues in the first half of the NBA season, the Atlanta Hawks remain in the mix for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Now, they know the schedule they will face after the All-Star break as they continue to chase a postseason berth.
Atlanta's front office made aggressive moves by signing Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic in the offseason to upgrade the roster. They have only played a total of 28 games combined due to injuries.
Incumbent stars Trae Young and John Collins continue to lead the way for the Hawks. Their 13-18 record doesn't inspire a lot of enthusiasm, but the Southeast Division is such a mess right now that they are only two games behind the Charlotte Hornets in the loss column for the top spot.
Here is a look at the Hawks' schedule for the second half of the season and their key matchups down the stretch.
2020-21 Hawks Schedule
Second-Half Opener: at Toronto Raptors on March 11, 7:30 p.m. ET
Championship Odds: +16000 (via FanDuel) (bet $100 to win $16,000)
Second-Half Schedule: NBA.com
Charlotte Hornets (April 11)
If the Hawks want to pass the Hornets in the division race, they might have to start beating them at some point.
Charlotte won the first-half meetings between the two teams on Jan. 6 and 9. That was before the Hornets were starting LaMelo Ball, who is the Rookie of the Year favorite and has only gotten better as this season has gone on.
Of course, the Hawks played both of those games without Gallinari, and Bogdanovic injured his knee in the second quarter of the Jan. 9 meeting. Gallinari is still working his way back into shape, averaging 10.5 points on 34.3 percent shooting since Jan. 22.
Bogdanovic told Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he's hoping to return before the Hawks' first-half finale on March 3 against the Orlando Magic.
A healthy Hawks team with Young, Collins, Bogdanovic, Gallinari, Kevin Huerter and De'Andre Hunter has the potential to be the best team in the Southeast Division. There are plenty of wins to be had there, especially at the bottom with the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards falling apart.
In order for the Hawks to reach their goals, they need to beat their two main competitors in the division.
Miami Heat (April 23)
Sticking in the division, the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat have dealt with their own injury issues during a slow start. They are second in the Southeast Division with a 14-17 record.
In Miami's past 58 regular-season games dating back to the 2019-20 campaign, it has a 26-32 record. The team's postseason run washes away the fact that it's played below-average basketball in the regular season for more than a calendar year.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra has had to navigate a roster in the first half that didn't have Jimmy Butler for 12 games, Tyler Herro for nine games and Goran Dragic for 14 games.
We will get a taste of what the Hawks and Heat look like against each other before the end of the first half. They play back-to-back games in Miami on Feb. 28 and March 2.
If either team is able to win both games, that can provide them some cushion over the other in the division race. The Heat won three of the four meetings against the Hawks last season with a 12.7-point average margin of victory.
Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce has done a good job of keeping his team afloat despite not having Gallinari and Bogdanovic for an extended period of time.
Young has gotten back on track after a slow start, averaging 28 points and 10.1 assists with a 40.5 three-point percentage in 20 games since Jan. 11. Collins remains one of the most efficient offensive players in the NBA. The 23-year-old is shooting 53.5 percent overall, including 38.5 percent from three.
If the Hawks are going to not only compete in the Southeast Division but also challenge for a top-five seed in the East, they need Young and Collins to lead the way. But it will be the health and performance of Gallinari, Bogdanovic, Huerter and Hunter that will determine their ceiling.
We have yet to see the best version of this Atlanta team, so expect better basketball from this group in the second half.
Record Prediction: 34-38
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