Kings vs. Hawks Preview – By the Numbers

The Kings, owners of the NBA leading 7 game win streak, head to Atlanta for the 2nd night of the back-to-back. The Hawks are coming off of a 114-102 loss to Cleveland, and sit at 10-7 on the season.

The Kings are still looking for their first win on 0 days rest, as they lost to the Warriors in their last attempt. That just happened to be their worst shooting game of the season, as they shot 25.6% from 3. Hopefully that isn’t a trend that pops up. They play fast and just had a hard-fought game against Memphis, so tired legs may be in effect. Sacramento is 6th in pace, and the Hawks are right behind at 7th. This game has the potential to be a barn burner, and adds another wrinkle into the back-to-back game.

What’s great though, is that Sacramento just found a way to win when they shot 33.3% from beyond the arc, and 50% at the rim against the Grizzlies. This was the first game that seemed like they truly won with their defense. Shots aren’t always going to fall, but if we get a portion of the defense we saw against Memphis, the Kings should give themselves a good chance every game.

Atlanta comes into the game with the 19th ranked offense, which is surprisingly low for the Trae Young led team. The All-Star guard is averaging 27.2 Points and 9.5 Assists per game, but shooting a career low 39.8% from the field and 30.4% from deep. In the past we’ve seen the Kings be a get right game for players, and as I’ve said before, they can’t continue being that team. So far, they haven’t this year, but it will take a little bit longer to fully shed that label.

The Hawks as a whole aren’t shooting much better from 3 than Trae. They shoot 32% (27th) on 28.7 3PA’s (29th) per game. Instead of taking a ton of threes, they lead the league in 2-Point Field Goal attempts with 65.8 per contest. For reference, the Kings shoot 48.5 shots inside the arc per game, 26th in the NBA. The Kings have a drastic advantage in 2-Point Field Goal percentage though, leading the league at 59.4%, compared to the Hawks 19th ranked 52.6%. It may come down to volume vs. efficiency on the inside.

The Kings are still struggling defending the paint, giving up 54.8 Points in the Paint each game, 29th most in the NBA. With their high volume, the Hawks score 54.2 inside the paint each game. I think the Kings can still win this game if the Hawks get going from inside. What the Kings can’t do is let the Hawks feast inside and get hot from beyond the arc. The Hawks are 6-2 when they shoot over 35% from 3-point range.

A lot of eyes will be on Kevin Huerter, who returns to Atlanta as a foe for the first time in his career. The Kings sharpshooter is still shooting 50% from beyond the arc, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. The great thing about Huerter so far this season is the consistency. He has only had three games where he shot less than 35% from 3, and hasn’t had any long stretches where he’s struggled. It’s wild that his 36.4% against the Pistons feels like a down game for him.

The Hawks do a great job defending the 3 though, holding opponents to 33.2% from deep, 27th in the NBA, but they allow 26.4 Free Throw attempts per game, tied for 2nd most in the league. The Kings are continuing to do a great job getting to the line, shooting 25.3 freebies per game, 5th most of all teams. Look for Fox, Sabonis, and Barnes, the three headed free throw monster, to once again lead the team in Free Throw attempts.

You could pretty much put a blindfold on and throw a dart at a dartboard and hit a De’Aaron Fox stat that stands out. His early season hot start from 3 is starting to look like less of a hot start, and more of a new normal. He’s still shooting 40.8% from beyond the arc, and just went 5-of-8 (62.5%) against the Grizzlies. Fox is continuing to get good look after good look, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to stop any time soon. Trae Young isn’t known for his defense, and if he spends any time on Fox, look for Fox to feast on the advantageous matchup.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today