The Atlanta Hawks survived Los Angeles with a close-fought victory despite severe roster limitations, and that sets the stage for Monday night's opportunity to sweep a road back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings. Mike Budenholzer's club was impressive in topping the Lakers without four starters for much of the night, and things may not be any easier given the state of a typical NBA back-to-back.
Budenholzer elected to sit three starters (DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague) against the Lakers, and he will once again give a portion of his starting lineup a rest against the Kings, with Al Horford and Kyle Korver remaining on the sidelines.
Al Horford and Kyle Korver will rest vs. Kings. #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) March 16, 2015
In addition to the voluntary absence of both players, Korver suffered a broken nose that forced an early exit from Sunday's game, leaving him in a bit of limbo for the immediate future. Still, the Hawks were able to grab a victory in that spot, and they'll be looking for a repeat performance as they move north to Sacramento.
The Kings could be without Rudy Gay for this match-up, as he is considered questionable, and with Darren Collison still on the sidelines, Sacramento is also operating at less than full steam. Just seven days ago, Atlanta raced to 130 points in a blowout win over Sacramento at Philips Arena, and that should inspire a touch of confidence for this particular battle.
However, the Kings are not playing a back-to-back in this spot, and they have the benefit of their home building against the road-weary Hawks. From a match-up perspective, containing DeMarcus Cousins is paramount for the Hawks, and without Al Horford, it is safe to look for a steady diet of Elton Brand, Pero Antic and even Mike Muscala in an attempt to keep the massive Kings big man occupied.
Aesthetically pleasing victories are less important than simply getting wins at this point in an NBA season, and grading on a curve might be the best way to approach Monday night in Sacramento. Regardless, the Kings are a beatable opponent, and the Hawks can take care of business with any array of lineups.
Game Date/Time: Monday, March 16, 10:00 p.m. ET
Location: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM