Preview: Golden State At Atlanta
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, February 22, 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
The Golden State Warriors stumbled out of the All-Star break at Portland but picked themselves back up in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. The Warriors will continue their chase of history when they switch coasts and visit the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
Golden State suffered its worst loss of the season at the Trail Blazers but started out hot in Los Angeles and managed to hold off the Clippers in the end to pull out a 115-112 victory despite playing without centers Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. “We haven’t lost two in a row all year, which we’re proud of,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. The Hawks lost two in a row over the weekend after going down 117-109 in double overtime at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. Atlanta, which fell to Miami on Friday coming out of the All-Star break, has dropped four of five bridging the break, with two of those setbacks coming in overtime and all four by single digits.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBATV, CSN Bay Area (Golden State), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (49-5): Golden State’s pursuit of 73 wins drew much of the focus during the All-Star break, but the team insists gaining the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference is the bigger objective over the final 28 games. “We can’t win 24 games at one time,” Stephen Curry told reporters. “It’s very cliché, but there’s only one way I can say it; if we get wrapped up in the moment and how we play every single night, and continue to play one game at a time (the wins record) may happen. … We have to lock up the No. 1 seed, that’s what we’re mainly focused about.” Forward Draymond Green recorded a triple-double while playing center on Saturday with Bogut (Achilles) and Ezeli (knee) sidelined.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (31-26): Atlanta was reportedly fielding offers for most of its roster in front of Thursday’s trade deadline but avoided making any major deals, and the flaws that existed prior to the All-Star break remained over the weekend. The Hawks went 9-of-41 from 3-point range in Saturday’s 117-109 setback and were outrebounded 65-49 by the Bucks. Atlanta is close to the bottom of the league in rebounding differential despite having Paul Millsap and Al Horford patrolling the middle, and it got even weaker on the glass over the break when it was announced that center Tiago Splitter would need season-ending hip surgery.
1. The Warriors are rumored to be in the market for free agent C Anderson Varejao, who was traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the deadline and then waived by Portland.
2. Hawks G Jeff Teague (wrist) played only 18 minutes on Saturday and is day-to-day.
3. The teams split two meetings last season, with Atlanta earning a 124-116 home win behind 23 points and seven assists from Teague.
PREDICTION: Warriors 125, Hawks 101