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Warriors vs. Hawks Preview: The quest to lose by less than 50

Or a win, if we’re really getting greedy.

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Golden State Warriors v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors don’t have to do much on Sunday to improve on their last showing. All they have to do is lose by only 52 points, or anything less. And that will represent a nice improvement.

Hopefully they can do that.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (23-26) vs. Atlanta Hawks (25-24)

When: 4:30 p.m. PT

Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta Georgia

TV: NBC Sports Bay Area and NBA TV (available on fuboTV)

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green (questionable), James Wiseman
Hawks: Trae Young, Tony Snell, Bogdan Bogdanović, Solomon Hill, Clint Capela

Last results:

Warriors: Lost to the Raptors 130-77 — 1-4 in their last 5 games
Hawks: Beat the Pelicans 126-103 — 3-2 in their last 5 games

Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):

Warriors: 108.8 offense (24th), 112.0 defense (11th), -3.2 net (22nd)
Hawks: 114.9 offense (11th), 113.2 defense (20th), +1.7 net (11th)

The story

The Hawks are one of many teams this year that I see on the schedule and think “well the Warriors are clearly better than this team.” And then you look at the record, and the net rating, and the recent results, and you realize, “no, they’re not.”

At the moment the Warriors are not a particularly good basketball team, though it’s worth noting that their 1-7 record, and -133 point differential when Steph Curry doesn’t play is a bit of a factor here.

Still, the Warriors can’t be considered favorites against the Hawks, and that shouldn’t sit particularly well with any Golden State fan, player, or organization member.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Kelly Oubre Jr.

After a sensational February, Oubre has slowed down in a big way. Through March an April he’s averaging just 14.1 points per game and shooting 26.3% from three-point range, and in his last two games he’s had just 17 points on 7-for-22 shooting.

Add in some sliding defense — to join the whole team — and it’s been a rough go of it lately for the Dubs shooting guard. They need him, especially since he’ll be tasked with defending Trae Young.

Hawk to watch: Clint Capela.

Capela is far from the league’s elite when it comes to center rankings, but he’s a perfectly solid starting center who can make life hell for opposing bigs. And he’ll be aiming to do exactly that against James Wiseman, who has been struggling in a big way lately.

The Hawks center is averaging 14.9 points per game, but more importantly, he’s averaging a league-leading 14.1 rebounds per contest. Wiseman and the Warriors have both struggled to effectively clean the glass, so he could do serious damage.

Matchup to watch: Steph Curry vs. Trae Young.

Young has often drawn Curry comparisons, and while they don’t feel entirely accurate, you can see what they’re getting at. He’s an electric young point guard, capable of making jaw-dropping threes and magical passes.

He’s averaging 25.5 points and 9.6 assists per game, and has the Hawks playing quality offense.

As for Curry? Well, you know that one.

Keys to victory

  • Solid play from the wings
  • A few good contributions from the bench
  • An angry performance from Steph Curry and Draymond Green

Please win, Warriors.

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