Atlanta is coming off an impressive win over the Clippers in which they scored 123 points, and Trae Young looked very comfortable running the offense. When they have both Dedmon AND Len in the lineup, they play much better.
Sacramento is two spots out of a playoff spot right now, and five wins from their highest total since 2006. They really need to get this win, and to go on a run to try and push ahead of the LA Lakers and Clippers.
Defense has not been the calling card for this young team in the first year under Lloyd Pierce. But the offense, which ranks #19 in points for, features a number of guys who can get buckets. John Collins is averaging 20 and 10 while knocking down the three ball. Trae Young, in a year many people are “disappointed in,” is averaging 16-4-7, and his shot is starting to drop. Taurean Prince is finally back and scoring, while rookie Kevin Huerter is BURYING the three ball. Dewayne Dedmon has been protecting the rim, dominating the glass, and drilling the three ball. What a year for him.
The last time these teams met, Atlanta totally forgot how to play defense. While it was nice that they scored 115 points, they allowed 146, and could not get any stops. De’Aaron Fox had 31-10-15, Buddy Hield had 27-5-6, and Marvin Bagley III had 18 points and five boards off the bench. Jeremy Lin had 23 points in 23 minutes for the Hawks to pace the offense.
At .500 through 50 games, this season should be anything but a success in the eyes of those outside the organization. De’Aaron Fox is a borderline All-Star in just his second year, and Buddy Hield is a candidate for most improved. Willie Cauley-Stein has been great, while Bogdan Bogdanovic has seamlessly served as sixth man. They have the third-highest 3P% in the entire league, and it should be no surprise to anybody. This is a very young team, with only two guys (one actually playing) that are at least 30 years old, and they will only get better.
In order to move up and get closer to the playoffs, they need a 4-5 game winning streak, and they need it now. Hield, Fox, and Bogdanovic have to keep their level of play up, and they have to beat all the teams that aren’t on their level, starting with Atlanta tonight. Their next nine games should dictate how the season ends up. Home vs. ATL, PHI, SAS, HOU, MIA, and PHX. Then, @ Denver, Golden State, and OKC. They NEED to go 5-4 or better, to keep their pace, and try to move up.
Sacramento moves back over .500, sends Atlanta to loss
It’s hard to pick against the upstart Kings. Tonight, they’ll be keeping their winning ways going, as Buddy Hield scores 30 to lead the team to the win!
Free Pick: Kings
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