The 2022-23 schedule for all 30 NBA teams has finally been released, and it allows fans the opportunity to start marking their calendars and planning around the can’t miss games on the schedule. While not every team shares the same goals for the 2022-23 season, they all have games where fans will be circling dates and trying to make sure they’re in the building for or at least able to watch on TV, and here we are going to highlight five such games for each team.
Here, we’ll look at the new-look Atlanta Hawks, coming off of a disappointing 2021-22 season that saw them have to claw their way to the 8-seed through the play-in just a year removed from a trip to the conference finals. The response to that step back was to make a big splash in the trade market this offseason, dealing Danilo Gallinari and a number of first round picks to the Spurs for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray, pairing Trae Young with an elite defender in the backcourt.
Atlanta hopes their remade backcourt can help them vault back into the crowded group of contenders in the East, and there will be a few games across the schedule that figure to be benchmark opportunities for the Hawks to test themselves against the league’s best. Here are five of those tilts.
October 29, 2022: at Milwaukee Bucks (8:00 p.m. ET)
The Hawks have a very soft schedule to begin the season, opening up with the Rockets, Magic, Hornets, and Pistons (twice). Realistically, Atlanta could be 4-1 or 5-0 when they face their first big test, and it is a road tilt in Milwaukee. These two teams played in the conference finals two years ago, and the Hawks actually tested the Bucks in that setting. A lot has changed, but this will be a nice measuring stick for Atlanta early in the season.
December 7, 2022: at New York Knicks (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Madison Square Garden is always an appealing venue, and that is doubly true when Trae Young comes to town. The Hawks famously upended the Knicks in a playoff series two seasons ago, and Young was “welcomed” by the crowd in New York. That player/fan base rivalry continues, and these teams could also be competing for playoff position, particularly if the Knicks are able to add Donovan Mitchell in the coming weeks.
January 16, 2023: vs. Miami Heat (TNT, 3:30 p.m. ET)
MLK Day in Atlanta is always a strong atmosphere, and this season should be no different. This is a rematch of the 2021 playoff series between the two clubs, and it is one of only three TNT games for the Hawks this season. Trae Young will likely have a bit of extra motivation after a disastrous playoff series for him individually, and this could be a playoff preview again given the strength of the two teams.
January 18, 2023: at Dallas Mavericks (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
There isn’t quite the same fervor on all sides of the Trae Young-Luka Doncic debate these days, in large part because both teams seem to be quite happy with their superstars and the two are quite friendly off the court. Still, there is always plenty of juice behind this matchup between the players and teams, and this is the nationally televised version this season. It feels like a lifetime ago that the Hawks did a number on the Mavericks in the 2021-22 season opener, but the opportunity to see two of the game’s best offensive creators on display is highly appetizing.
February 7, 2023: at New Orleans Pelicans (TNT, 7:30 pm ET)
In February, two intriguing teams get together on a stage they don’t always receive. The Hawks visit New Orleans and, if Zion Williamson and Trae Young are on the floor, the matchup will feature two elite offensive talents. Beyond that, these are clubs battling for playoff positioning in their respective conferences, and it is a good measuring stick for both teams.