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Kings vs. Hawks Preview: Battle at the Bottom of the Cellar

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The Kings are in Atlanta picking on someone their own size, as they duke it out with the 2-12 Hawks!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Wake up! The Kings have themselves a winnable game! Ditch Wednesday night cycling class (you look great), ditch that extra work you were supposed to be doing from home (you weren’t getting that promotion) and grab yourself some popcorn because the Kings have a discernible chance at victory here, folks! Coming into Atlanta to face off against one of the two teams in the league with a record more wretched than their own, the Kings have caught the Hawks in the middle of a four game slide and are looking to capitalize. If the Kings find a way to lose this game by more than twenty, I swear you’ll never see me again! Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: Wednesday, November 15th; 4:30 pm PST

Where: Philips Arena; Atlanta, GA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

How Are The Hawks? The 2017-18 Atlanta Hawks are bad. They’re the worst team in the Eastern Conference, have had to deal with a slew of injuries early on this season and their fourth leading scorer is former Kings great, Marco Belinelli. So yeah, thing aren’t going so well. Luckily for Atlanta, the Kings aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire. So fast forward to 7 pm tonight when you’re wondering how the Hawks snuck up on the Kings and beat them like some diseased turtle in a race against a mange-riddled hare. How’d they do it?

Well, three point shooting for one. The Hawks make the 9th most three pointers in the league and are fourth in the NBA in marksmanship from deep, shooting 39.4% from deep. Wouldn’t you know it but the Kings defense gives up the 6th most three pointers? The Hawks are also the team that takes the 5th most two pointers, but shoots 46.7%, fourth worst in the NBA and gets to the free throw line the seventh least in the league, yet shoots the sixth highest free throw percentage in the league at 80.6%. They’re a twist of highs and lows, and for the Kings to win, they have to further encourage those bad habits. Move the Hawks off the three point line, but don’t allow them to get to the line. Let them settle for long two pointers and when they miss, grab the boards. The Hawks are 18th in the league in offensive rebounds, and while that doesn’t necessarily seem great in comparison to the Kings being 29th in defensive rebounding, its a start. In fact, the Hawks are the only team in the league with a worse defensive rebounding percentage in the entire league, so there’s hope for rebounding all around tonight!

The Hawks are a bit like the Kings in that most of their scoring is done by committee; Dennis Schroder is averaging 19.3 points per game, but past that its five guys averaging between 10.1 and 13.9 points per game. The Hawks are also fairly turnover prone and foul happy; 21st in the NBA in turnovers at 16.1 a contest, and 22nd in the league in player fouls at 21.6 a game. If the Kings can push the pace and are aggressive on defense and in attacking the rim, they should get plenty of opportunities in transition and get to the foul line tonight.

Prediction: The Kings start slow but come on strong with the bench unit looking to get back that winning feeling. De’Aaron Fox is aggressive early, and Buddy Hield starts the game hot. In the closing moments of the a close game, Buddy Hield reminds Dennis Schroder that they’re fellow fondlers of a former Kings forward, and as Schroder thinks fondly back, Hield flies by him for a game winner.

Kings: 107, Hawks: 105