The Atlanta Hawks gathered a much-needed victory on Friday night, outlasting the Chicago Bulls to snap a three-game losing skid. However, the team's job doesn't get any easier on Sunday afternoon, as Mike Budenholzer and his squad are faced with needing to upend a very solid Charlotte Hornets team before heading out on a treacherous five-game road trip.
The Hornets enter Sunday's game as winners of six of their last seven games, with the only blemish coming on the road against the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers. Charlotte's 30-27 record is solid enough on its own, but the Hornets upgraded by adding Courtney Lee at the deadline, and this is a well-coached team playing quality basketball right now.
As for the hometown Hawks, it was (very) nice to see a 48-minute effort on Friday night, but Atlanta shot the ball terribly and the team continues to struggle on the offensive end. While the defense has been lights-out (number one in the NBA since Jan. 1), the offense has lagged behind, and Charlotte's defense is fundamentally sound in a way that could make things difficult on the Hawks.
As mentioned on Friday, there are no "must wins" in February in the NBA, but the Atlanta Hawks face a five-game trip that involves four games against playoff-bound opponents. Translation? A home win over a division opponent would be very nice to secure here, and things aren't getting any easier next week. It is time to hold serve.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, February 28, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM