Atlanta Hawks Battle Golden State Warriors In A Clash of NBA Titans


The recently named Player(s) of the Month for January (the entire starting 5 for the Atlanta Hawks) will get to face their toughest assignment to date in the West-leading Golden State Warriors tonight at Philips Arena.

The Hawks and Warriors are the best teams in the NBA and it’s not even close.

Say whatever you want to, but no other team can match the level of domination that both Atlanta and Golden State have exhibited thus far this season.

The NBA has been waiting for a matchup between the two powerhouses and tonight is the night.

Interestingly, both teams have their share of similarities and differences.

Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks /

Atlanta Hawks


Both teams employ a motion-heavy pass-happy offense. Thrive on shooting and elite defense. Both teams also rank in bottom 10 in offensive rebounding.


Pace : Hawks rank 16th at 93.7. Warriors top the league at 98.9.

Fastbreak opportunities : Hawks are 18th in 11.8 per game while the Warriors top it too at 21.4 per game.

Defensive rebounding : Warriors are the best at it while the Hawks come at 16th in the league.

Glancing over their similarities and differences, the Hawks rely more upon half court basketball as compared to the Warriors; a lot more infact. The Hawks play at a much slower pace too, not surprising. It will be fun to see which team controls the momentum of the game.

I discussed how the Hawks use their lack of offensive rebounding to get back into defensive formations quicker. That helps them minimize fastbreak opportunities for the opponent and force them into half court offenses instead.

Between Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Draymond Green, the Warriors have great defensive rebounders. Good defensive rebounding leads to fastbreak opportunities. The Hawks should expect the Warriors to test their transition defense to it’s limits.

I also discussed how the small-ball nature of the league and lack of versatile frontcourt defenders benefits the Hawks. Teams are forced to go small to guard them on the perimeter and that opens up the paint for Atlanta.

Even though, the Hawks don’t score a lot inside, they use that spacing to move better. Put a big body inside, they’ll just move out to the perimeter more.

So, the Hawks force the other team to play by their rules. The Warriors, on the other hand, have the Hawks’ kryptonite in Draymond Green who can defend inside and outside equally well.

The Hawks will face a team who’s big man can run out and defend as well as he can inside. It will be fun seeing how the Hawks’ make up for this.

Key to the game for Hawks

The Hawks have not had a matchup like the Warriors. A supercharged carbon copy. In all sense of the word, the Warriors are Hawks’ twin. But the key for the Hawks lies in countering Green’s presence on both ends.

When defending, he can switch out to the perimeter with ease. Where the Hawks would take advantage of slower defenders to stretch the defense, Green takes away just that. It’ll be harder for Millsap to shoot which is a big dynamic for the Hawks’ offense.

On the other end, he’ll pull a big man out, making Hawks’ help defense and defensive rebounding weaker inside which is something you don’t want against the Warriors.

Key to the game for Warriors

Maximizing on individual matchups. The Warriors are like a supercharged Hawks’ team. The difference lies in the individual skill levels between the players on both rosters.  The Warriors have plethora of All-stars and their share of superstars.

Over the course of the season, the Warriors have skate by relying upon individual brilliance from their superstars. That has masked a lot of bad games for the Warriors over the season. So, the Warriors need to play like a team but, at the same time, capitalize on the difference in individual skills.

Between great shooting, player movement and elite defense, this game might be the closest thing to the NBA Finals of last year.

You definitely have to tune in tonight for this marquee matchup!

Stats used were taken from NBA stats and TeamRankings.

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