SACRAMENTO -- The countdown has begun. The Sacramento Kings host the Atlanta Hawks Thursday evening in game 73 of the regular season. With just 10 games remaining on the schedule, the Kings are in full evaluation mode.
Sacramento is coming off a sub-par showing against the Detroit Pistons. Buddy Hield posted his fourth straight 20-point game and De’Aaron Fox added 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but the Kings lost by 16.
The Hawks sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but they are coming off a shocking win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Dennis Schroder dropped in a season-high 41 points to help Atlanta snap their six-game losing streak.
Kings by 1.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De’Aaron Fox vs. Dennis Schroder -- Fox is one of the fastest players in the league, but Schroder is no slouch. The Kings’ rookie point guard played sparingly the last time these two teams faced off, but it’s his show now in Sacramento. Schroder is coming off a big performance in the Hawks win over the Jazz on Tuesday. He plays with a force that Fox hasn’t quite figured out yet. It’s speed vs. speed.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 23-49, fourth place in Pacific
Hawks: 21-50, fifth place in Southeast
Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (sore hamstring) probable, SG/SF Garrett Temple (ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (gastroenteritis) questionable, SF Iman Shumpert (knee/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
Hawks: SG Kent Bazemore (knee) out, SF DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal strain) out, PF John Collins (ankle) out, G Jaylen Morris (ankle) out, G Antonius Cleveland (ankle) out, G Malcolm Delaney (ankle) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Ten Games to Make a Lasting Impression -- The Kings’ young core is getting an opportunity to show what they have. A couple of players are jumping off the page in the post All-Star break schedule and a few are fading. The team is evaluating what they have and what they need for the upcoming summer.
Play Hard -- Atlanta lacks talent, but they don’t lack heart. Mike Budenholzer teams come to play, which Utah just found out the hard way. The Kings had an active practice on Wednesday. Hopefully that carries over to Thursday night’s game.
Revenge Game -- Dave Joerger’s group got their lunch money stolen the last time they faced the Hawks. The 46-point drubbing was the worst loss of the year for Sacramento. Atlanta comes in short-handed and with a 21-50 record, but they are still capable. The Kings need show up and get a little payback.
Atlanta torched the Kings in their early season matchup, running over the Kings for a 126-80 win at Philips Arena. The Hawks hold a 159-154 advantage all-time over the the Kings and lead the series 43-18 during the Sacramento-era.