The Atlanta Hawks are off to a blazing 2-0 start and, over those two contests, Mike Budenholzer’s team has posted the league’s best net rating (+26.0 points per 100) and defensive rating (80.8 points allowed per 100). In short, things have gone quite well to this point in the campaign. On Monday night, though, the competition level jumps a bit from Saturday, as the Sacramento Kings invade Philips Arena for Halloween.
All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins is the centerpiece of the Kings roster and “Boogie” has propelled Sacramento to a 2-1 start based on his fantastic play. Cousins is averaging 30.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game over that small sample (to go along with a 36.07 PER) and Atlanta’s Dwight Howard will have his first major challenge over a full game in dealing with Cousins in this spot.
Elsewhere, the Kings do not have the most threatening roster, and that should be noted. Sacramento is playing without Darren Collison as a result of a suspension, and Ty Lawson (yes, that Ty Lawson) is really the team’s only legitimate option at point guard. The Kings do have real, live NBA players in Rudy Gay, Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos (who is playing out of position), Matt Barnes and Anthony Tolliver, but it has to be noted that the Hawks hold a sharp roster advantage in this match-up.
Keeping Cousins’ production to a minimum will be critical in this game, and we could learn a great deal about the new-look Hawks defense given this particular opponent. Still, Atlanta should be expected to knock off Sacramento at home with a day’s rest before tip-off, and that is the backdrop for Monday night.
Stay tuned throughout the evening for all the latest from Philips and let’s all be careful out there.
Game Date/Time: Monday, October 31, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM