The Atlanta Hawks begin a three-game west coast road trip Friday night with a matchup against the Sacramento Kings. Atlanta has won six of the last 10 games and currently are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings one half game behind the Toronto Raptors.
The Hawks have been searching for some level of consistency for what seems like the entire season. They have posted a number of good wins but have been plagued by a series of puzzling losses. Atlanta ranks among the league leaders in defensive rating but have allowed at least 112 points in each of their last four losses. Three of those defeats were by more than 20 points.
When locked in, the Hawks have shown that they can compete with most teams in the league, however they simply haven’t been able to show that on a consistent enough basis to build much confidence around the league.
Atlanta bounced back from a 120-95 drubbing at the hands of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday with a 117-106 win over the Denver Nuggets. Dennis Schröder was the catalyst in that game with a game-high 24 points while Paul Millsap added 23.
Sacramento trails Denver by 2.5 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They have gone 5-5 over the last 10 games and are coming off of a 108-92 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday in a game in which they played without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins who was serving a one-game suspension for accumulating 16 technical fouls this season.
Cousins will return to the lineup on Friday and the Hawks figure to have their hands full in trying to contain him. He is averaging 27.9 points and 10.7 rebounds to go along with a career-best 4.7 assists per game this season. He struggled a bit in the first matchup against Atlanta this season finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds on just 6 for 16 shooting. The Hawks pulled out a 106-95 win over the Kings back in late October.
Atlanta will be without Thabo Sefolosha for the seventh straight game due to a groin injury. Tim Hardaway Jr will get the start and is averaging 18.5 points on 43 percent shooting over the last six games.
Game Date/Time: Friday, February 10, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 “The Game” FM