Hawks-Warriors Preview

Sluggish offensive play has been a major problem for the Atlanta

Hawks of late. A meeting with the lowly Golden State Warriors

should help.

The Hawks try to rebound from one of their worst offensive

showings of the season when they visit the last-place Warriors on

Sunday night.

Atlanta (34-19) is fourth in the Eastern Conference, but has

lost two of three and shot 38.5 percent from the floor in the

defeats. The Hawks have also struggled from 3-point range, going 7

for 40 over the last three games, although they are fourth in the

conference at 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Atlanta is tied with Orlando for fourth in the East in

field-goal percentage at 47.2.

The club’s shooting woes were evident Friday as the Hawks made

39.5 percent from the floor – 3 of 14 from 3-point range – en route

to an 88-80 loss at Phoenix. Atlanta managed 30 second-half points

and got none in the fourth quarter from Josh Smith, who led the

team with 21.

“I thought our offense hurt us,” coach Mike Woodson said. “It

really put us behind. We ended up with 12 assists and we missed a

lot of good shots and a lot of our shots were hurried shots.

“When our offense wasn’t working in the fourth, it seems like we

gave up defensively as well. That’s not a sign of a good team.

We’re better than that.”

The Hawks may have an ideal chance to end their shooting funk

against the Warriors (15-39), who give up a league-high 110.8

points per game while allowing opponents to shoot 48.0 percent,

ranking ahead of only New Jersey at 48.2.

Golden State, last in the Pacific Division, has dropped 11 of

13. The Warriors lost 100-89 to Utah on Friday after shooting 37.2


“We just couldn’t make any shots and the ball didn’t fall our

way,” said guard C.J. Watson, who had 22 points against the Jazz

after scoring a career-high 40 in a 130-98 win over Sacramento on


The Warriors need a better performance from Monta Ellis, who

returned to the lineup Friday and shot 2 of 14 before finishing

with six points and six assists. The guard had missed the previous

three games with a mild left knee sprain.

“I don’t know if I expected more than that, but it’s

understandable,” coach Don Nelson said. “Anyone coming back from an

injury is not going to be sharp. Whatever it takes, we’ll just have

to deal with it.”

Ellis leads the Warriors with career-high averages of 25.8

points and 5.4 assists. A back injury forced him to miss the season

series with Atlanta in 2008-09, with the teams splitting the two

meetings and the home team winning each time.

The Warriors won 119-114 on Jan. 16 behind Jamal Crawford’s 29

points. The guard is now with the Hawks and averaging 17.6 points.

He has struggled of late, however, shooting 36.8 percent and

totaling 23 points over the last two games.