49-5 (25-5 ROAD)
31-26 (17-11 HOME)
|How To Watch
|February 22, 2016
|Phillips Arena — Atlanta, GA
|5:00 p.m. PST
|NBA TV | CSN Bay Area | KNBR 680 AM
|Blog Buddy: Peachtree Hoops
Festus Ezeli - OUT (Knee - Indefinitely)
Andrew Bogut - Questionable (Achilles)
James Michael McAdoo - Questionable (Toe)
|Tiago Splitter - OUT (hip)
The Warriors... had a great victory over the Clippers in L.A. on Saturday night. They now embark on a tough east coast stretch that will take them through Atlanta before hitting Florida and the dangerous Miami night life to face the Heat and the Magic.
The Warriors rebounded from a tough loss against the Portland Trail Blazers like they have all season with a balanced showing and fantastic effort that wasn't as close as the score depicted. I applaud Steve Kerr for letting the bench attempt to finish the game, but the Clippers wouldn't roll over and die, even getting a half court heave at the buzzer that could have tied the game.
The team continues to deal with careless turnovers, but makes up for it with amazing shooting. Good to see Klay get his feet back after a rough night in Portland with a great showing in L.A. (32 points on 11-22 shooting). Can the team continue to put in great efforts around Steph Curry on their way to more road victories? Andrew Bogut will be a game-time decision after dealing with some leg tightness. He might not be the best match up against the non-traditional Hawks lineup, where guys like Mo Speights and Draymond Green should see plenty of time at the 5.
The Hawks... get their first shot at the Warriors this season. Remember last season when the two teams clashed, and it was considered the big game of the season? Since that game, the Hawks have taken a slow decline on their way to a playoff fizzle-out, and continued into a disappointing season so far. They currently find themselves safely above .500 at 31-26, but have lost 6 of their last 10 including a two game losing streak (dropped a game to the Bucks Sat night in double OT).
Where has the decline come from? They score about the same number of points per game last last season, but their defense has taken a hit (DeMarre Carroll left in free agency which has had an impact). Their pace has actually gone up since last year, however their efficiency rating has gone down, making them less effective. They have lost productivity from an aging Kyle Korver, who is having one of the worse seasons of his career (shooting 38%, lowest since 2009). That team has played so poorly so far there was big expectations that they would begin to trade off parts at the deadline. Instead, they actually picked up a player in Kirk Heinrich and have put their focus on the playoffs.
What to make of this team?
The Hawks should make the playoffs this season, but face a tough road against the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. They have not done well against the East's elite, posting losses against the Cleveland and Toronto, plus the West elite this season. They have a tough schedule to end the year as well, with trips left to all the league's toughest matchups. With the bottom of the East getting better, the Hawks would have to think that remaining in the sixth or seventh spot would be a victory.
Their style of play is a tough match up for the Warriors, as they have good athletes and scorers in Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Credit should also be given to Warriors favorite Kent Bazemore, who has made himself into a solid NBA player and is averaging over 10 ppg.