A lot has changed since Nov. 1, when the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings squared off for the first time this season. John Collins didn’t participate in that contest as a result of injury, Dewayne Dedmon played only 12 minutes on his way back to full strength and Kevin Huerter appeared for exactly one minute of action in reserve duty. That illustrates just how far the Hawks have come but, with that in mind, Sacramento utterly throttled Atlanta (at State Farm Arena) by a 146-115 margin.
It wouldn’t be accurate to refer to the Hawks and Kings as rivals by any stretch, as the two teams see each other only twice a year. Still, it is probably safe to assume that Lloyd Pierce will “remind” his team of that 31-point drubbing before the teams reconvene on Wednesday evening in Sacramento.
The Hawks enter this particular contest on the heels of an impressive win in Los Angeles and, in general, Atlanta is playing very solid basketball at the moment. The Hawks are famously 10-10 in their last 20 games and, as a result of that uptick, the good folks in Las Vegas project the Hawks as only six-point underdogs on the road.
Part of that, of course, is that Sacramento has cooled off a bit in recent days, losing three of the past four games to slip to 25-25 on the campaign. Make no mistake, the Kings have been the better team over the course of the season but the playing field is certainly more level than it has been at times and the Hawks might have an intriguing addition to the fold when this game tips off.
Kent Bazemore was upgraded to questionable for this contest and, while the veteran wing may not participate, it was the first time he was listed with a distinction other than “out” since injuring his ankle on Dec. 29. The Hawks have certainly outpaced expectations without their best wing but, in short, Atlanta will be better when Bazemore returns and that could happen here.
In terms of match-ups, there are two head-to-head battles that will garner plenty of attention. At point guard, Kings sophomore De’Aaron Fox has been fantastic this season and he’ll be opposed by Trae Young in a battle of up-and-coming players at the position. In the frontcourt, Kings rookie and No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III will see plenty of Collins and, if nothing else, this will be an opportunity to take stock of a few intriguing young talents before they all take the court together again in Charlotte for the Rising Stars Challenge in mid-February.
Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 10:00 pm ET
Location: Golden 1 Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)