Game Preview: Warriors at Hawks


When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Philips Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Stream: Fox Sports Go

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Probable starters

Hawks: John Collins, Taurean Prince, Dewayne Dedmon, Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore

Warriors: Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, JaVale McGee, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

Inactives 

Hawks: DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal strain), Antonius Cleveland (left ankle surgery rehab), Andrew White III, Josh Magette and Tyler Cavanaugh are out.

Warriors: Patrick McCaw (non-displaced fracture, left wrist), Shaun Livingston (rest), Damian Jones and Chris Boucher are out.

What to watch for

After snapping a four-game losing streak Wednesday with a 107-102 win over the Indiana Pacers, the Hawks will host the Golden State Warriors in the teams’ first matchup this season.

The Warriors, coming off a 108-101 win over the Washington Wizards, will play the final game of their three-game road trip against the Hawks.

The one advantage the Hawks have over the team with the Western Conference’s second-best record is the turnover margin. The Hawks lead the league in creating opponent turnovers (15.5 per game) while the Warriors are one of the worst in turning the ball over (15.4 per game).

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said although it’s obvious the Warriors have a more talented team than the Hawks, his team cannot have the mindset that Friday’s game is an automatic win.

“I think the biggest challenge is just coming in here and understanding that they’re going to play really hard,” Kerr said. “They have a bunch of young guys trying to make the league… They’re coming out and they’re excited to play the Warriors at home and they’ve played well here and you can find yourself in a fight so we have to be ready for the challenge and the energy and the excitement they’re going to bring.”

Golden State, which has an 84.4 percent chance (according to ESPN’s BPI) of defeating the Hawks— a team that has five more wins than the Warriors have losses— the greatest challenge for the Hawks will be to stop the Warriors from building an impenetrable lead too early.

If the Hawks, the league’s the second-worst team in defending shots beyond the arc (37.6 percent), can better defend deep shots by Steph Curry, who leads the team with 26.7 points per game and 1.6 steals per game, the Hawks have a chance to get into the second half while still in a competitive position. 

The Warriors (48-14) are first in the league in shooting percentage from the field (51.1 percent) and the 3-point line (39.8 percent). The team is also first in the league in points scored per game (116.1) compared to the Hawks who average 103.5 points, 22nd in the league. 

During the first half of the season, the Hawks were continually one of the league’s better teams from the 3-point line and were competitive in the points per game category, but with the losses of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, the Hawks fell from one of the better to 15th in the league (36 percent).

After the Warriors and Hawks face off Friday at Philips Arena, they will play once again at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on March 23.

Notes

*McCaw, who will not play against the Hawks on Friday, last played for eight minutes against the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 12. The second year player out of UNLV has played in 51 games with the Warriors this season, including six starts, and averaged 3.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 15.6 minutes.

*Bembry, who missed the Hawks last two games because of an abdominal injury, has played in 21 games for the Hawks this season, averages 4.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.62 steals in 17.3 minutes. Bembry will sit out Friday’s game, according to the Hawks’ official injury report on Thursday.

*Cleveland, who signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks on Feb. 22, will sit out Friday’s game because of left ankle surgery rehab. An undrafted rookie out of Southeast Missouri State hasn’t played yet in a game for the Hawks after playing 13 games with the Dallas Mavericks earlier in the season.


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