Date: November 5, 2013
Tip-Off Time: 10:00 PM ET
TV Channel: SportSouth (local), NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Atlanta Hawks Radio Network Affiliates
Live Stream: League Pass Broadband
After a soul-crushing defeat in Los Angeles on Sunday night, the Hawks continue their West Coast swing with a trip to Sacramento to take on the Kings.
Sacramento enters the game at 1-2 on the young season, but they’ve lost their last 2 games since knocking off the Denver Nuggets on opening night. The Kings have a bit of a dysfunctional roster this season (as usual), and that has resulted in the team allowing an ugly 107.4 points per 100 possessions (25th in the NBA) on the defensive end. Sacramento also isn’t much better offensively, although they’ve been near league-average (18th) in offensive efficiency at 100.9 points per 100 possessions.
As far as player talent, the Kings are unquestionably led by the hot-headed DeMarcus Cousins. The massive center is averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds (with a 28.8 PER) through 3 games, and his size could be an issue for Al Horford and company on the front line. Fortunately for Atlanta, he’s the only piece that really scares you as an opposing fan, and the Kings don’t have that “elite” wing scorer to drive the Hawks crazy.
It certainly should be noted that Sacramento will be trotting out guys like Marcus Thornton and rookie lottery pick Ben McLemore at the shooting guard spot, and that could be a match-up issue for Atlanta when Mike Budenholzer chooses to deploy Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll together. However, Carroll should draw the “number 1″ match-up at all times, and the Kings don’t have a legitimate small forward (John Salmons, Travis Outlaw) that Korver couldn’t handle.
In addition, it should be interesting to see what Budenholzer and company choose to do with the rotation on the second game of the trip. Elton Brand saw only 4 minutes of action against the Lakers and John Jenkins (while making his debut for the season) played only 6 minutes in the game. This would be a spot where Jenkins could be valuable (while guarding one of the smaller 2-guards) and Brand could be used as a “thumper” against Cousins, but if Coach Bud elects to go with Pero Antic and Cartier Martin again, that could be noteworthy.
Our friends in Las Vegas (“friends” used loosely) have actually installed the Kings as a 2.5-to-3 point favorite in this game, mostly due to venue and a long road trip for the Hawks. I’m actually optimistic about the match-up though, and the Horford/Cousins match-up alone is worth the price of admission. Stay tuned!