It has been 381 days since the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors took the floor at Philips Arena, and the "rematch" is here. To be fair, it is a stretch to consider this a legitimate rematch considering the fact that a) the two teams play only twice per season and b) Atlanta and Golden State played in Oakland in between the two Atlanta-based contests, but alas, the arrival of the defending NBA Champions brings considerable attention and the last time these two teams got together in Georgia, it was electric.
Unfortunately for Hawks fans, this game won't be met with nearly the anticipation locally. In 2015, the Hawks and Warriors squared off in a "1 vs. 1" match-up of two teams with single-digit losses in early February, but Atlanta hasn't held up its end of the bargain this year. The Hawks enter this particular game on the heels of back-to-back home losses in ugly fashion, and the fan base is restless (to say the least) in the aftermath of a disappointing start to the second half.
As for the Warriors, Golden State is rolling right now as they look to repeat. Steph Curry and company enter this match-up with an unholy 49-5 record on the season, and the Warriors boast what is easily the best offense in the league in scoring 112.8 points per 100 possessions. At this point, even the most casual NBA fan recognizes the electric nature of the Warriors, and Curry is arguably the best basketball player on the planet. As a result, Philips Arena should be rocking in a way that few regular season atmospheres can bring, even if many of the fans in the stands will be supporting the visiting squad.
Given the nature of their recent performances, it is a stretch to think the Hawks can beat the Warriors in any venue. Atlanta certainly has the firepower to compete valiantly with Golden State, as a similar roster defeated the high-powered Warriors at home a season ago, but the Hawks need to play an A+ game and hope that the Warriors simply bring their B+ performance to the table.
The Warriors are undoubtedly fun to watch and the Hawks should be a desperate basketball team as they take the floor in front of a raucous house on Monday night. Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest and let's do this together.
Game Date/Time: Monday, February 22, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: NBATV, Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM