Game preview: Hornets at Hawks

Jan 31, 2018

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

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Stream: Fox Sports Go

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Probable starters:

Hawks: Ersan Ilyasova, Taurean Prince, Miles Plumlee, Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore

Hornets: Frank Kaminsky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Dwight Howard, Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum

Injury report:

Hawks: DeAndre’ Bembry (left groin strain) is out.

Hornets: Marvin Williams (left ankle sprain) and Cody Zeller (left knee surgery) are out.

What to watch for:

The Hawks (15-35) are coming off a 105-100 win over the Timberwolves on Monday night when Kent Bazemore led the team was 22 points.

After only allowing former teammate Jeff Teague to shoot 1-of-12 from the field for two points in Monday’s win, the Hawks host another former teammate in Dwight Howard.

When the Hawks and Hornets last faced off in Charlotte on Friday, Howard recorded 18 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks in a 121-110 win. Before the game, Howard said he wanted to “kill” his former team when he faced them for the first time since being traded to the Hornets in June. 

Howard, an Atlanta native, will return to Philips Arena for the first time Wednesday since the trade.

The Hornets (20-29), who will be without starting power forward Marvin Williams on Wednesday, are on a two-game losing streak after falling to the Heat 95-91 on Saturday and the Pacers 105-96 on Monday. 

Hornets coach Steve Clifford said during Williams’ absence over the next few games, Frank Kaminsky will have an opportunity to increase his role and “step in and play well.”

One of they key areas to watch when the Hawks take on the Hornets for the second time in a week will be which team benefits the most off turnovers.

For several weeks, the Hawks have been one of the best teams in the NBA in forcing turnovers. Currently, the Hawks are first in the league in creating turnovers (15.5 per game), but one of the worst in losing turnovers (15.1 per game). During Monday’s win over the Timberwolves, the Hawks scored 24 points off 14 Timberwolves’ turnovers, but then turned the ball over 21 times.

The Hornets, meanwhile, have one of the league’s lowest turnover averages this season, 12.6.

The Hawks’ other strength throughout the season has been their success from the 3-point line. The Hawks have made an average of 36.9 percent of their shots — eighth-best in the league — beyond the arc, while the Hornets rank 23rd with 35.3 percent.

This season, the Hornets have also become one of the worst teams in shooting from the field, making 44 percent of their shots (28th in the league).