Saturday evening was one to forget for the Atlanta Hawks. The admittedly undermanned Hawks suffered a negative decision in Philadelphia, and with that as the most recent effort on the floor for this group, you can bet that Mike Budenholzer's club will be looking to remove that sting on Monday night as they host the Sacramento Kings at Philips Arena.
This will be the first meeting between the two clubs this season, with the second on the horizon in just one week when the Hawks land in California as part of their West Coast swing. Sacramento enters this match-up scuffling a bit, as the Kings have lost five of their last six games, including an active three-game losing streak.
Things have been in a state of flux for the organization as well, as George Karl took over the reins midseason after a receiving a lucrative multi-year contract. However, the biggest issue for Atlanta in this game has little to do with Karl, and a lot to do with monster Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center is averaging 23.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game on the season, and while any report of Atlanta's inability to deal with this type of size is highly exaggerated, no one in the NBA has an "easy" time with Cousins. Monday night could be another prime spot to deploy Elton Brand, as the longtime veteran has success in post defense, and with Pero Antic's status in limbo as a result of an ankle injury, we could see an Al Horford-Elton Brand combo at the center spot.
In addition, Monday could be a nice spot for the home team to get things going offensively. Saturday's effort was ugly to watch at times, but with Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap ready to line up against the Kings, Atlanta will be looking to take advantage of a bottom-five defensive team in the league.
"Must-win" spots are few and far between in the NBA, and this certainly isn't one of them given Atlanta's monstrous lead in the Eastern Conference standings. Still, the Hawks are set to hit the road for a six-game trip following this contest, and any momentum that could be gained to jumpstart that journey would be beneficial. Stay tuned.
Game Date/Time: Monday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM