Tonight we will see Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks playing their second encounter this season, with Hawks taking the win in the first match back in November (106:95).
First, let’s touch the home side. Sacramento Kings are currently sitting at 10th position in the West, with a record of 21-30. Looking at their recent form, they have won 2 games out of last 5 played. Despite winning only 2 games, they managed to make both of the wins worth mentioning. Despite losing to Rockets (105:83), Suns (103:105) and Bulls (107:112), Kings won against GSW (109:106)(OT) and Celtics (108:92). The fact that they managed to win against 2 of the best travelling teams, whereas they failed to do the same against teams, which are arguably worse that GSW and Celtics is quite interesting for me. Nevertheless, let’s look how Kings played against Celtics. In the match against Boston Celtics, Kings ended the first quarter 9 points behind, but the lead of Celtics did not hold for long, as Kings stepped up their game and proceeded to outscore Celtics in 2nd quarter by 9 points (30:21), so the home side was ahead by 1 point before 2nd half. Kings came into this match as an underdog, but it did not seem like it in the 2nd half, when they outplayed Celtics in both quarters. 3rd quarter ended with an additional 6 point lead for Kings (28:22) and another 10 points were added in the last 1 2minutes (31:21). Much of Kings success came from being able to protect their basket, letting Celtics shoot with only 39.7% accuracy throughout the match, whereas Kings held a respectable 50% FG%. Top scorers of the match: Collison (26pts), Thomas (26pts) and McLemore (17pts).
Today’s visiting side, Atlanta Hawks are currently at 5th position in the East, with a record of 31-22 and a record of 3-2 in the past 5 games. In the course of those 5 games, Atlanta Hawks won against Rockets (108:113), Magic (113:86) and Nuggets (117:106). On the other side, they failed to do the same against Miami Heat (116:9) and Utah Jazz (95:120). Looking at their recent fixture, Atlanta won against Denver Nuggets (117:106) in a match that has been quite one sided since the start. Atlanta Hawks managed to get a quite big lead of 17 points before going into 2nd half. The lead is understandable when you look at how better they shot compared to Denver Nuggets. In the first held Atlanta held a 61.7 FG%, compared to 44.4% of Nuggets. Second quarter was similar in that aspect, with Atlanta shooting 11.6% more accurate than their opponents (48%-36.4%). In the 3rd quarter we could see a fight back from Denver, who outscored Atlanta by 6 points (26:32). Last 12 minutes ended with a tie (19:19), with terrible shooting performance from both sides. In the last quarter Atlanta shot with 28.6% and Denver with 26.9% accuracy. Top scorers of the match: Chandler (24pts), Schroder (24pts) and Millsap (23pts).
Verdict & Prediction
How did Kings win against GSW and Celtics is still a mystery to me, but I see that more of an coincidence than a real sign of a improvement in their form. All in all Kings are one of the worst teams when to comes to home games (10-15), whereas, Atlanta are known to be one of the best teams when it comes to away games (15-11). In fact, Atlanta are the best travelling team in the past 10 games, with 7 wins to their name. As for injuries and missing players, Kings will be without Casspi, Gay and Temple, with Lawson still listed as doubtful to play tonight. Atlanta Hawks on the other hand will miss Splitter and Sefolosha. For me Atlanta Hawks are a better opponent in this game and will surely show that.
Prediction: Atlanta Hawks -1.5 points
Odds. 1.89 Pinnacle