The Golden State Warriors will travel to the east coast for their first regular season matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. Coming off a close win agaisnst the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night, the Warriors will continue to chase history as they look to become the first team this season to reach 50 wins. For Atlanta, they’ll look to knock off the defending champs and add to the win column after a double overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at home.
Golden State’s focus throughout this road trip will need to be about playing their brand of basketball consistently, and their matchup against Atlanta will be no different. Despite chasing history, the Warriors will need to keep pace to ensure that they retain the number one seed heading into the postseason. Despite their enormous success, the San Antonio Spurs are only three games behind. Atlanta, currently on a two-game losing streak, will focus on getting back on the winning track and hopefully look to jump into the top four in the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta: Heading In The Wrong Direction
The Hawks have not had the start to the second half of the regular season that they wanted. Since the All-Star break, Atlanta has gone 0-2, losing both games by a differential of less than 10 points. The key theme from their past two losses has been their inability to finish down the stretch. Currently tied with the Indiana Pacers for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks cannot afford for this to become a trend late in highly contested games. The second half of the regular season has been known to breathe life into the playoff hopes of many NBA franchises, but if Atlanta’s play becomes a normal trend for the near future, they could be headed on the opposite end of the spectrum.
This meeting with Golden State is vastly different from last season’s matchup between the two. Just a year ago, both these teams were at the top of their respective conferences and looked to be possible opponents come June during the NBA Finals. Today, that is not the case. While the Warriors have remained among the NBA’s elite, the Hawks have struggled to remain consistent, and as a result they’re fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. Atlanta needs some momentum to build on for the foreseeable future, and that begins with a win on their home floor.
Golden State: Attention To Detail
Following a blowout to the Portland Trailblazers, the Warriors bounced back in typical fashion, edging out a win against the rival Los Angeles Clippers. While Golden State has managed to avoid losing back-to-back game this season, they’ll need to get back to playing their brand of basketball to defeat the Hawks like they should. Setting the tone for this game will help them keep momentum for when they’ll face tougher opponents throughout this road trip, like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Golden State needs to get the momentum going from the tip-off. The Warriors cannot afford to play from behind. As many times as we have seen the defending champs battle back from a large deficit, it can’t become a normal trend. This squad doesn’t have a single lockdown defender; each player works collectively together to create that championship winning defensive presence. To come away with a win, they’ll need to play a complete game on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and most importantly take care of the basketball.
These two will go head-to-head on Tuesday, February 22 on NBATV. Tip-off at approximately 5 PM PT.