The Atlanta Hawks wrap up a three-game homestand Friday against the Sacramento Kings, and one of the NBA's youngest teams is about to hit a brutal part of its schedule while missing one of its biggest stars. The Hawks have split two games since forward John Collins was suspended 25 games for violating the league's anti-drug policy, but following Friday play nine of their next 12 games away from home, starting with a five-game road trip Sunday at Portland.
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The Hawks had no answer for Chicago on Wednesday in a 113-93 loss, committing 24 turnovers and giving up 13 3-pointers to fall below .500 on the season, leaving coach Lloyd Pierce struggling to find positives, as he told reporters postgame, "The only positive from this game: It's over." The Kings have won two of their past three following an 0-5 start to the season, and after trailing by 13 points Wednesday at defending champion Toronto rallied to within three points in the fourth quarter before falling 124-120. It spoiled a stellar shooting night from long range for Sacramento, which made a franchise record-tying 20 3-pointers. "I'm happy for the direction we're moving," Kings coach Luke Walton told the media postgame. "It's a tough place to play, it's the NBA champs, and they were making a lot of shots (Wednesday)."
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS California (Sacramento), Fox Sports Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE KINGS (2-6): Sacramento continues receiving good offensive production from the backcourt tandem of De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, who combined are averaging 36 points and 8.3 rebounds. Fox has averaged 22 points and Hield has scored 20.3 points across the past three games, and on the season Fox is averaging 6.6 assists. Forward Harrison Barnes scored 26 points and hit four 3-pointers in the loss to Toronto, raising his long-range shooting to 36.4 percent for the season.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (3-4): One day after learning Collins (17 points, 8.8 rebounds) would be out until late December and then rallying for a 108-100 victory over San Antonio, Atlanta gave up a 28-6 run in the first quarter against the Bulls and trailed by double figures the rest of the way. Guard Trae Young finished with just nine points with three assists while shooting 0-for-8 from 3-point range, as the Hawks hit a season-low six shots from beyond the arc. Young entered Thursday ranked 16th in the NBA in scoring (24.2 points) and ninth in assists (7.5).
1. The Kings trailed at halftime Wednesday for just the second time in eight games this season.
2. Atlanta rookie G Cam Reddish and F DeAndre Hunter combined to shoot 2-for-15 against Chicago.
3. Sacramento averaged 140.5 points per game in sweeping last season's two-game series from Atlanta, and the Kings have won their past three meetings with the Hawks.
PREDICTION: Kings 114, Hawks 103 Bet Now
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