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SPURS GAMEDAY: Up-and-down Silver and Black look to bounce back against struggling Hawks

Atlanta, which has won only nine games this season, beat the visiting Spurs by eight Nov. 5.
Credit: AP
Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) tries to steal the ball from San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay (22) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Hawks (9-32) vs. Spurs (17-22)

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center

TV: KENS 5, 7 p.m.

All-time series record: Spurs lead 55-39

Last season: Spurs won 2-0

Season series: Hawks lead 1-0

Last meeting: Hawks 108, Spurs 100, Nov. 5, Atlanta

Hawks' last game: Beat Phoenix Suns 123-110, Tuesday, Atlanta

Spurs' last game: Lost to Heat 106-100, Wednesday, Miami

Hawks' last 10 games/streak: 3-7, won one

Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 5-5, lost one

Hawks' injury/inactive report: Guard/forward Treveon Graham (traded from Minnesota), out; center Alex Len (low back; pain), out; forward Jabari Parker (right shoulder; impingement), forward Chandler Parsons (concussion; whiplash), out; guard Jeff Teague (trade from Minnesota), out.

Spurs' injury/inactive report: Forward Rudy Gay (illness), out; Quinndary Weatherspoon (G League), out.

Notable: Friday night's game is the first of two in a row at home for the Spurs, who are 11-9 at the AT&T Center this season. The game will be broadcast by KENS 5, the Official Television Station of the San Antonio Spurs . . . Only Golden State (9-34) has a worse record than Atlanta (9-32) . . . San Antonio hosts Miami at 5 p.m. Sunday in the second game between the teams in five days. The Heat won the first meeting 106-100 on Wednesday in Miami.

GAME PREVIEW

While hardly a marquee matchup, the Spurs' game against the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Friday night won't lack for storylines.

Atlanta (9-32) has the second-worst record in the NBA, but the Hawks beat the visiting Silver and Black 108-100 in their first meeting of the season Nov 5. With their annual Rodeo Road Trip only weeks away, the Spurs can ill afford a loss to a sub-.500 opponent.

A setback at home against Atlanta would be a blow for a San Antonio team that showed improvement while going 2-2 during a road trip that ended with a 106-100 defeat in Miami on Wednesday. 

Trudging along with a 17-22 record, the Silver and Black must go 7-2 in their next nine games to climb to .500 before embarking on their rodeo trip. The Spurs play six of their next nine games at home, including Sunday's rematch with Miami.

San Antonio plays back-to-back road games against Phoenix on Monday and New Orleans on Wednesday before hosting Phoenix next Friday and Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 26.

The Silver and Black play at Chicago on Jan. 27, and host Utah (Jan. 29) and Charlotte (Feb. 1) before playing eight straight road games in 21 days during the Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs leave the AT&T Center for an extended period each year to make room for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, scheduled Feb. 6-23 this year.

Reports that the Hawks are interested in trading for Spurs center Jakob Poeltl is another interesting storyline heading into Friday night's game.

Credit: Photo by Antonio Morano bit.ly/XR79FT / Special to KENS5.com
Spurs star DeMar DeRozan has scored at least 20 points and shot better than 50 percent in 12 straight games, a feat matched only by Michael Jordan.

Poeltl was part of the blockbuster trade that sent Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan in the summer of 2018. Poeltl, who has developed into a reliable rim protector this season, has averaged 5.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 39 games this season.

DeRozan continued his torrid pace in the loss to the Heat on Wednesday night, scoring 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting. He has scored at least 20 points and shot 50 percent or better in 12 straight games. Only one other player in NBA history, Michael Jordan, has ever had such a streak.

The Spurs had their chances in Miami, but a cold spell at the start of the fourth quarter, when they missed 11 of their first 12 shots, did them in. 

"It just got away from us," DeRozan said. "The game was right there. If we had been able to score on two or three possessions, been able to get two or three stops, we would have had a great chance to try to win it. 

“It’s frustrating to lose, period. You've got to stick with it. The Heat are a great team. It has been a tough road trip that we’ve been on. We fought. Ball didn’t go the way we needed it to. Now we've got to get back home and just take care of business.”

Patty Mills scored 21 points and hit 5 of 12 three-pointers for the Spurs in the loss to the Heat. LaMarcus Aldridge (12), Bryn Forbes (11) and Derrick White (11) rounded out San Antonio's double-figure scoring.

The Hawks are coming off a 123-110 home win against Phoenix on Tuesday. Atlanta was led by guard Trae Young, who scored 21 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 10 assists.

Young has scored 30-plus points in 20 games this season, ranking him third in the league behind Houston's James Harden (28) and Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo (21).