Sacramento Kings vs Atlanta Hawks

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The Western Conference clashes with the Eastern Conference Saturday night as the Sacramento Kings take on the Atlanta Hawks in the State Farm Arena in Georgia. The Kings got off to a nice start to their second half with a 125-105 win over Houston at home while Atlanta won a thrilling, back and forth game on the road, beating Toronto 121-120. It’s been quite a while by NBA standards since these two teams have played, going all the way back to November 8, 2019 when Sacramento won 121-109.

Atlanta Starts Second Half with a Last Second Win

Of course, Tony Snell is a big reason for that as his three pointer just before the buzzer Thursday night dropped through the net to give Atlanta the comeback win. They had been down by 15 points with just over six minutes left so coming back in the fourth quarter to a very well-coached team like the Raptors is a spectacular feat for a young squad like the Hawks. It was a big moment for Trae Young, Atlanta’s star guard, because rather than force a shot, he dished it out to an open Snell for the three. It was a moment that new head coach Nate McMillan thought was noteworthy, telling the Associated Press, “He trusted his teammate, kicked it back out, and Tony did what he’s been doing for us — he hit a big 3.” And why not trust Snell? He has been on fire since Feb. 1, shooting 64.6% from behind the arc.

Any win helps Atlanta, currently sitting in the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference, especially against Toronto who hold the exact same record as the Hawks at 17-20. The win over the Raptors now gives Atlanta a three game winning streak heading into this match up with the Kings. Young had a monster game against Toronto, putting up 37 points and going 13-16 from the charity stripe. On the year, Young is averaging 26.7 points and 9.3 assists per game to lead the team in both categories. Averaging 17.8 points a contest is John Collins, Atlanta’s second leading scorer, who also adds 7.6 boards and a block each game. Atlanta’s only player averaging a double double per game is Clint Capela with 14.5 points and a league leading 14.3 rebounds a game. On offense, the Hawks are averaging 112.8 points on 45.3% shooting while giving up 112.4 points and holding teams to 46.1% shooting, good for 11th in the NBA.

Sacramento

If the Kings are going to slip into the Western Conference playoffs, they can’t trade wins for losses as they have done over their last six games. Starting the second half of the season with a blowout win is a great way to get on track, but this team has been wildly inconsistent the entire season, which is a big reason why they’re currently stuck in 13th place out west with a 15-22 record, third worst in the conference. Still, they are only four and half games out of that eighth spot in the west so there is no more time to waste if they are going to try to make a playoff push. In their victory over Houston, it was star point guard De’Aaron Fox leading the way with 30 points, nine assists, and seven boards while his backcourt mate Buddy Hield added another 20 points, seven assists, and six rebounds for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes both had identical double doubles with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

One thing Sacramento has been good at doing all year is scoring, averaging 115 points a contest, tied with Philadelphia for seventh in the NBA. Fox is a big reason for that, averaging 23.2 points and 7.6 assists, but he has plenty of help with five other players averaging double figures in points. Forwards Barnes and Marvin Bagley III average 16.8 and 14 points while guards Hield and Tyrese Haliburton are averaging 16.5 and 13 points respectively. Center Holmes does an admirable job in the paint with averages of 13 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per contest. Defense, however, is Sacramento’s Achilles heel. They give up 119.9 points a game, dead last in the league, as well as allowing opponents to shoot 49.1% from the floor, also last in the league.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The NBA is all about match ups and this is an exciting one featuring a lot of great young players like Young, Fox, Collins, and Hield. While Young and Fox will most likely cancel each other out in terms of production, one big difference here could be at the center position between Capela and Holmes. Capela is the bigger guy and makes more of an impact on defense where this game will be decided. With Sacramento able to score at will, Atlanta can put up points with the best of them when needed whereas the Kings can’t seem to buy a stop on defense. I think Atlanta runs away with this in the second half. Take Atlanta.

Prediction:
Atlanta -4

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Sacramento can seemingly score whenever they want, but Atlanta’s defense is decent enough to make it a bit tougher for the Kings than usual. Lately, however, both teams have had absolutely no trouble scoring the rock as Atlanta spent the entire fourth quarter trading points with Toronto and Sacramento pouring in points over Houston. With the Kings having the poorest defense in the league statistically, Atlanta should have no problem keeping pace with one of the highest scoring offenses in the league. Go with the over.

Prediction:
Over 240