Golden St. at Atlanta
Time: 6:30 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: GSW -10.5
Odds c/o Bovada
The Golden State Warriors have lost two straight, playing without jack-of-all-trades forward Draymond Green. It is illustrative of how much the forward means to Golden State’s offense, although the Warriors are still 10.5-point favorites as it visits the lowly Atlanta Hawks at 6:30 PM (CT) on NBA League Pass Monday night. The point total is set at 236 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Warriors have lost six of its past nine overall, and are just a humble 15-9 despite being the four-time champions of the Western Conference. Most recently, it fell to Detroit, despite 28 points from small forward Kevin Durant. In addition to Green being out, Stephen Curry is still rounding his way back into form after injuries of his own. Curry had 27 points in the loss to the Pistons, and Klay Thompson added another 21, but the Warriors got just 13 points from its reserves and were outrebounded while also turning the ball over three more times than Detroit. Pistons forward Blake Griffin had a huge game without Green in the lineup to defend him, as Jonas Jerebko scarcely represents the challenge that “Dray” does defensively. The Warriors are also now just 4-7 on the road this season, which is both uncharacteristic and worrisome for the team at this point.
Golden State is allowing 111.5 points per game, which ranks No. 18 in the association. Its offense is high powered and scores 115.9 per game while the Warriors lead the Association in assists per game, but the defense will have to tighten up long before the postseason arrives if this Dubs team is to repeat as champions. Few seem overly concerned in light of the massive collection of talent on the roster, but ignoring the shortcomings would be to Steve Kerr’s peril.
It seems possible even that Golden State is lulled into a comfort zone, knowing it can turn it on at any time. But can it? Or will the Warriors struggle tonight with one of the weakest teams in the league in the Atlanta Hawks? There are reasons to believe that is, at least, possible.
The Hawks are just 5-18 on the season, but there is some talent on the roster, and it began the season without one of its stars, John Collins. Collins has played in eight games thus far, and he is averaging 14.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 27 minutes a game. Those figures will surely increase, as Collins has the athleticism and instinct to take advantage of the great passing of rookie point guard Trae Young. Young is leading the team in scoring at 15.6 points per game, while also dishing out 7.6 assists per night.
Worrisome has been his 24.8 percent three-point shooting, but that figure is telling: Young has been superb on catch-and-shoots, but he is not shooting well off the dribble, which comprises the majority of his looks at this point. What it suggests is that he may be better suited with a ball-dominant 2-guard so he could play off the ball more (a la Kemba Walker’s style), but on rebuilding Hawks team, that is only something to take in consideration for future building purposes.
Taurean Prince has played well on the wing, averaging 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists, proving he has more offensive punch than previously suspected when he was billed as mostly a “defensive stopper.” The Hawks really ought to get more from Jeremy Lin, who is averaging 11.2 points per game but playing under 19 minutes a night.
The onus has been on developing Young as a point guard, but if the Hawks were in search of more wins it might make sense to play Lin alongside Young more often, to allow Trae the opportunity to roam the wings, of course, in search of more catch and shoot opportunities. Whatever the case, the Hawks are in something of a tank mode, and while the team is not bereft of talent, it hardly fits together that well at this juncture.