Warriors-Hawks Preview

Without one of the team’s top scorers, the Golden State Warriors
were held to their fewest points of the season in their return from
the All-Star break.

Things could get tougher for the Warriors if All-Star Joe
Johnson returns to Atlanta’s lineup Tuesday night when they look to
avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Hawks.

With third-leading scorer and outside threat Stephen Curry (16.5
points per game) on the bench nursing a strained foot tendon,
Golden State (13-18) went a season-low 3 of 22 from 3-point range
during Tuesday’s 102-78 loss at Indiana. It’s uncertain if Curry, a
45.0 percent shooter from beyond the arc, will be able to return
Wednesday. Regardless, the Warriors need to leave Tuesday’s mess
behind them.

“Like coach (Mark Jackson) said after the game, if anyone
thought they played well, they’re kidding themselves,” said
forward David Lee, who was held to 12 points.

“We have another important one in Atlanta and we need to correct
the mistakes and go get a game (Wednesday).”

Monta Ellis and Brandon Rush each scored 14 points as the
Warriors shot a season-low 34.1 percent and were held 21 points
below the 99.2 they averaged coming into the contest.

“Embarrassing,” Jackson said. “We got outworked. We did not
take care of the basketball. The disappointing part is that we
allowed our inability to make shot to affect the way we
defended.

“This is not our brand of basketball. We’ll see what we’re made
of (Wednesday night).”

With or without Curry, Golden State faces a stiff challenge
trying to snap a three-game losing streak overall and on the road
against Atlanta (20-14), which could have Johnson back on the
floor. One of the NBA’s top defenders, Johnson missed the final two
games prior to the break with a knee injury.

Johnson is scoring 19.2 points per game in his career against
the Warriors, but he’s averaged 12.7 during the Hawks’ three-game
series winning streak. Teammate Josh Smith, meanwhile, is averaging
25.7 and 9.3 rebounds during that same stretch versus Golden
State.

Smith had 22 points and 12 boards as Atlanta snapped a
three-game losing streak with an 83-78 home win over Orlando on
Thursday. Jannero Pargo scored 15 off the bench and fellow reserve
Willie Green added 14 as the Hawks won for the fourth time in 12
games.

Though the Hawks blew a 17-point halftime lead, they held
Orlando to 37.8 shooting.

“When we’re playing defense and playing energetic the way we’re
capable of, we’ll be in the game at the end and have a chance to
win,” Green said.

Though Atlanta has allowed 106.4 points per contest while
winning eight of the last 11 meetings with Golden State, the Hawks
have averaged 111.5 on 48.7 percent shooting during that span. The
Warriors, however, were held to their lowest home point total of
the season during a 95-79 loss to Atlanta in the most recent
meeting Feb. 25, 2011.

Ellis is averaging 22.2 points this season, but he has totaled
28 on 11-of-34 shooting in the last two games against the
Hawks.