ATLANTA — The Hawks have had a few days off to get healthy and to get more accustomed to life without Al Horford. Their opponent–the Golden State Warriors–do not get that pleasure. Coming off of a great win against the Heat in Miami last night, the Warriors are right back at it in Philips tonight.
KEYS TO THE GAME –
The Warriors like to shoot. Sitting courtside and watching Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson warm up was a work of art. They hardly missed, and this team can fill it up with ease. When it comes to stopping them, few teams have come close to slowing down this red hot offense. The Hawks are 12th in the league in terms of opponent’s three-point percentage at 35.3 percent, but the Warriors are third in the league, shooting 39.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Hawks have to do a good job of not allowing transition buckets, and that has to remain the same here. The key for the Hawks will be to not allow Curry or Thompson–or Iguoldala for that matter–to get wide open looks. This team is going to hit some three’s, they take over 24 a game, but they can’t get discouraged. With Horford out, Golden State will try and attack the paint early, and that could lead to some easy shots for their shooters. Expect DeMarre Carroll to get some time on Curry tonight.
On offense, the Hawks have to use Teague to attack. The Warriors have a rim protector in Andrew Bogut, but if they can get him away from the basket by using Pero Antic on the perimeter, then Jeff Teague should be able to get into the paint easily. They will need to try and get Bogut in foul trouble early, and expect the pick and roll game to be used a lot in this one. The Hawks have shot an alarming amount of three-pointers since Horford went down, and they should look to get easy baskets in this one.
Overall I expect this one to be good, but it could very well be a shootout. Stephen Curry had 36 points and 12 assists for the Warriors against the Heat last night, and showed us all how dangerous he can be. If the Hawks are undisciplined in their approach on defense, then this could be a long night. Golden State could be battling fatigue due to this being a second night of a back-to-back, so the Hawks should stay aggressive all night.