Road Reaction Show: Hawks drill the Kings
The losses are stacking up for the Sacramento Kings (21-41). After letting back-to-back games slip through their fingers over the weekend, Sacramento ran into a juggernaut tonight in Atlanta, losing by a final of 130-105 to the Hawks (50-13).
Rudy Gay fought the good fight, coming away with 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting, but it wasn’t nearly enough. DeMarcus Cousins notched another double-double (12 points and 14 rebounds), but struggled to find a rhythm. Ray McCallum continued his steady play, dropping in 15 points and five assists in the loss.
From the opening tip the Kings slumped off the Hawks shooters and the Eastern Conference’s best team made them pay. Atlanta hit a franchise-high 20 3-point shots on 36 attempts and handed an incredible 42 assists.
Join James Ham and Rui Thomas for the Road Reaction Postgame Show on Google+ after the game. The show can be watched on the video player embedded below. You can also join the discussion of tonight’s game by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page.
What to watch
1. Perimeter defense
Sacramento’s defense on the perimeter has been abysmal, and it’s no secret around the league. The Kings see the second-most opponent 3-point attempts per game in the league (24.7), and they face a Hawks club that is second in the NBA in 3-point accuracy and fourth in makes. Nearly every player on Atlanta’s roster is a legitimate downtown threat, so easy looks can’t be afforded.
2. Ball movement
Under George Karl, the Kings have made an emphasis to move the ball more, with mixed results. In nine games under Karl, the team has averaged 21.3 assists and 17.8 turnovers, an increase in both categories. To beat Atlanta, Sacramento needs fluid ball movement to counter their swarming defense, but the Hawks are adept at jumping passing lanes, a large reason why they’re sixth in the NBA in steals.
3. Bench boost
On Saturday, the Kings bench was outscored by the short-handed Heat’s, 59-22. Atlanta’s second unit is a deep blend of explosive guards and veteran forwards, which could make Carl Landry a useful weapon after logging 12 total minutes and two DNP’s over the past four games.