The Atlanta Hawks aren’t playing very well right now.
The Golden State Warriors are playing like the best team in the NBA right now.
Not great, huh?
Mike Budenholzer’s team travels to Oakland to face off against the reigning Western Conference champions, and the Warriors enter Monday’s game while riding an 11-game winning streak. On Atlanta’s side, the team has lost five of six games after a disappointing defeat in Los Angeles on Sunday, and the Hawks are playing on the second night of a back-to-back while Golden State had the opportunity to rest in their own backyard after playing on Saturday night.
In short, this is the worst possible scenario when it comes to logistics, as the Warriors own a ridiculous +17.4 net rating over their last 14 games. During that same time period, the Hawks have been out-scored by their opponents while compiling a 7-7 record, and Atlanta’s offense has been one of the worst in the league.
On the bright side, the Warriors do have some defensive issues, as the star-studded lineup including Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is “just” seventh in the league on defense. Old pal Zaza Pachulia is, quite easily, the weak link in Golden State’s starting lineup, and that also happens to be the one position in the starting lineup in which Atlanta (with Dwight Howard) owns a clear advantage.
The Hawks do enter the proceedings on Monday with the league’s best defensive rating (97.3), but the level of play on that end has slipped a touch in recent days and this is a nightmare match-up for anyone. Kevin Durant is the long, scoring wing that gives Atlanta problems and, to make matters worse, there isn’t a way to scheme around it with Dennis Schröder matched up against Stephen Curry and the pesky notion of Klay Thompson running around screens throughout the evening.
On one hand, Atlanta’s defense will almost certainly have “a plan” to stop the Warriors, but personnel-wise, it looks like a tall task for both Kyle Korver and Kent Bazemore in their match-ups at the outset. Golden State does have a lack of depth behind Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala and David West, though, and the Hawks will need a big-time output from the bench to threaten on the road.
At the time of this post, the Warriors are installed as 13-point favorites in Las Vegas, and that will likely be the biggest point spread disadvantage that Atlanta will face this season. In the NBA, anything can happen on a nightly basis and, with an “A+” effort, the Hawks can absolutely stick close to the Warriors and, potentially, win on the court.
We certainly invite you to stay up late with us on the East Coast for all of the festivities, and this will be an interesting barometer for the Hawks. Stay tuned.
Game Date/Time: Monday, November 28, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Spectrum Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM