Two Eastern Conference rivals face off in Sky Sports latest primetime offering when the second-placed Milwaukee Bucks head to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Sunday night.
Milwaukee are a game-and-a-half behind conference leaders the Toronto Raptors, who are also in action on Sunday night, and they will looking maintain the pressure at the top of the standings by getting back to winning ways.
The Bucks, riding a seven-game winning streak at home, were beaten in Washington on Friday and are in the middle of a run that sees them playing five of six games on the road.
A win over Philadelphia gave a talented yet inconsistent Atlanta just a second win from their last seven games and just nine days ago the Bucks unloaded on the Hawks with a 32-point victory in Milwaukee.
Added to that the Hawks have struggled on their own court this season, winning just seven of their 17 games at State Farm Arena and it looks an uphill battle for the hosts.
Last time out
Sunday night’s fixtures
- Toronto Raptors @ Washington Wizards
- Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks
- Milwaukee Bucks @ Atlanta Hawks
- Houston Rockets @ Orlando Magic
- Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks
- Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets
- Cleveland Cavaliers @ LA Lakers
Five – No not starting fives! But five successive victories, that’s what the Bucks have chalked up over the Hawks, including a dominant 144-112 win just over a week ago.
For good measure, it was five seasons that Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer had in charge of the Hawks before his switch to Milwaukee. He will return to Atlanta for the first time knowing his team are as strong as any in the NBA at the moment.
One to Watch (Bucks): Giannis Antekokounmpo
If he is fit to play, and he is expected to, then it has to be the Greek Freak who is averaging 26.6 points per game this season and despite managing just 19 minutes of the first meeting between the teams on January 4, he had his way with the youthful Hawks.
He put up 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a dominant performance before he was afforded a rest like the rest of the starters – there is unlikely to be pressure on Giannis to start if the hip/quad problems persist but equally it might be the ideal game for an eye-catching cameo to ease his way back to full fitness.
One to Watch (Hawks): John Collins
The 6ft 10in big man is carving out a reputation for himself as one of the most entertaining players to watch and while the Hawks have it all to do to claim a victory.
His jump shot with 25 seconds remaining proved to be the gamewinner against the 76ers and he is making up for lost time after missing the start of the season with an ankle injury – averaging 19.1 points and 10.5 rebounds he has posted 16 double-doubles and the second-year power forward is likely to relish the stage against the Bucks.