Still recovering from the loss of Kevin Durant, the Warriors conclude a five-game road trip Monday with a trip into Philips Arena to face the Atlanta Hawks.
The Warriors on Sunday responded to their first back-to-back losses in nearly two years by beating the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 60 points to seemingly come out of their slumps.
Though Matt Barnes in that game made his first start since returning to the Warriors, coach Steve Kerr said he would determine the starter at small forward on a game-by-game basis, leaving open the door for rookie Pat McCaw.
The Hawks (34-28) also played on Sunday, losing at home to the Indiana Pacers on a buzzer- beater by Glenn Robinson III.
Warriors by 5.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Draymond Green vs. Paul Millsap: The two All-Star power forwards have as many differences as similarities. Both rebound, defend and shoot the 3. But while Millsap is more the classic muscular power forward, Green is a ball of fire able to fill pretty much any role required. He’ll try to run the Atlanta veteran into submission.
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.
Hawks: G/F Mike Dunleavy (R ankle synovitis) is listed as out.
Warriors: 7-3. Hawks: 4-6.
The Warriors have won the last four meetings and nine of the last 10, including a 105-100 victory on Nov. 28 at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors will see a couple former teammates, including one that actually played for them. That would be small forward Kent Bazemore. The other is Jose Calderon, who last week spent about an hour with the Warriors.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
BALL SECURITY: The Warriors are at their best when playing nasty defense, forcing turnovers and sprinting in transition. It’s tougher to do on a back-to-back, but the Hawks just happen to be prone to turnovers; they’re the only sure playoff team to rank among the league’s five worst offenders. That has to be a signal for the Warriors.
BEYOND THE ARC: The Warriors are No. 3 in 3-point shooting percentage, while the Hawks are 23rd in defending the 3. The Hawks are 24th in shooting percentage, while the Warriors are No. 1 in defending the 3. The math spells out a significant portion of the Warriors’ game plan.
THE BIGS: Once a two-way force in the league, Hawks center Dwight Howard has been marginalized since returning to his hometown last summer. His defense and rebounding have been solid, but he’s averaging 13.2 points per game and a career-low in field-goal attempts (8.2). Will he go after Zaza Pachulia? Can Zaza keep him off the glass?