Kings vs. Hawks preview: Hey, it's Al Horford again! Oh no

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

A team that beat the Kings in Sacramento lays in wait in Atlanta.

The Kings did not find mercy on the East Coast on Tuesday, as the Bobcats beat them pretty solidly. On Wednesday, the Kings face the Hawks, who have already beat Sacramento 105-100 this season. In that game, Al Horford dumped in 27 points while frustrating DeMarcus Cousins and holding him to 11. Cousins went nuts in Charlotte on Tuesday -- the only King to perform really well -- but Atlanta's post defense is much better.

That means the Kings will likely be relying on help from the perimeter that didn't exist on Tuesday.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Isaiah Thomas vs. Jeff Teague.

Charlotte managed to bottle up Isaiah well. In addition to shooting just 8-23, he had only four assists in 35 minutes. Charlotte's defense is better than Atlanta's overall. But the offense is also more potent, and Sacramento's backcourt -- Isaiah included -- has been awful on defense of late, Rockets game excepted. Teague could have a big night. The Kings almost always need Isaiah to do the same.

3 THINGS

1. DeMarcus Cousins needs to play a bunch (no foul trouble), score a bunch and defend. No big deal.

2. My goodness stop some guards! Teague worries me a ton -- he was good in the first meeting, but not as good as he can be. Based on what Walker and Gerald Henderson did on Tuesday, Teague could go nuts ... if the Kings don't stop him.

3. Rudy Gay can't really take games off. Players will miss shots, and that's fine as long as the shots come within the offense. But effort needs to stay high elsewhere on the floor. I don't think Gay was necessarily lacking effort all night, but he wasn't as everywhere as he'd been in the first couple games with the team. If Cousins and Gay go all out, the team will be competitive most nights.

START FOUR

Only 23 folks ahead of me now, even though I've been trotting out some awful lineups. Just for kicks, today I'm picking Travis Outlaw, Quincy Acy, Marcus Thornton and Pero Antic. Who gon' stop me?

PREGAME HAIKU

Ka-kaw! Hello, Hawks!
Nice winning record you've got
there. Shame to lose it.

PREDICTION

105-100, Hawks.

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