The Atlanta Hawks are struggling in a mighty way as the calendar flips to February. Mike Budenholzer's team has lost five of its last six contests after a runaway defeat in Miami on Sunday evening, and during that time, the offense has been wholly impotent. During that six-game sample, the Hawks posted the worst offensive rating in the NBA (93.8 points per 100 possession), and not even a strong defensive showing could bail them out. Fortunately, it's a new month.
On Monday evening, Zaza Pachulia and the Dallas Mavericks invade Philips Arena for their only visit of the season, and this is an intriguing match-up. It is always fun when Pachulia comes to town wearing any jersey, but the Mavs are also a nice story with a 28-22 record after being written off by many pundits in the preseason. Dallas has won three of its last four with the lone loss coming to Golden State (who could blame them?), and this is a team that won't go down without a fight.
The point guard position was a real issue for Atlanta on Sunday night, with Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder combining to make only 7 of their 23 field goal attempts, and Kyle Korver struggled to an 0-for-6 night in his own right. Needless to say, that type of production from the backcourt is unacceptable at this stage, and it will be interesting to see a) who plays more point guard minutes and b) who steps up in this spot for the Hawks.
With both teams on a back-to-back that includes travel, the good folks in Las Vegas have installed the Hawks as significant favorites in this game. However, Atlanta can't simply show up and expect to perform at a higher level after this recent skid, and playing in front of the home fans did not go terribly well in a close loss to the Clippers last week. Stay tuned throughout the day for full coverage, and let's do this together.
Game Date/Time: Monday, February 1, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM