It was over a year ago that the Golden State Warriors lost on the road to the Atlanta Hawks in a highly anticipated matchup of conference leaders.
Things have changed for the only teams to win at least 60 games a season ago.
The Hawks are in danger of their first four-game home losing streak in nine seasons and are unsure of the status of Jeff Teague as they face what figures to be a highly motivated Warriors team seeking to become the fastest NBA team to reach 50 wins Monday night.
These teams earned top seeds in their respective conferences last season, and the Hawks said they issued about 170 credentials for the Warriors' visit Feb. 6, 2015. Golden State entered with a 39-8 mark while Atlanta had a slightly lower winning percentage at 41-9.
The Hawks made a statement that night by taking over the league's best record with a 124-116 victory, as Teague led seven Atlanta players in double digits with 23 points. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 55 points and Draymond Green had 12 points, 20 boards and six assists for the Warriors.
Golden State (49-5) earned a split of the season series with a 114-95 win March 18. The loss in Atlanta was one of four on the road for the Warriors to Eastern Conference foes in 2014-15, and they have already prevailed this season in the other three places they lost – Cleveland, Indiana and Brooklyn.
The Hawks (31-26) should be easier to beat this time at home, where they seek to avoid their first four-game slide since 2006-07. They stumbled out of the All-Star break with two defeats there, 115-111 on Friday to a Miami team playing without Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside and 117-109 in double overtime the next night to a lowly Milwaukee club that ended a six-game road losing streak.
''This is not the way we pictured it going,'' center Al Horford said. ''We are really in a hole right now.''
Making matters worse is that Teague injured his right wrist and was limited to five points and five assists in 17 minutes Saturday. His status is unclear Monday, and Dennis Schroder would likely make his seventh start in his place.
While the Hawks aren't as formidable, the Warriors continue to show their fortitude after Saturday's 115-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in which Thompson scored 32 and Curry had 23 with nine assists. It came one night after they began a six-game trip with a 137-105 defeat to Portland that snapped an 11-game win streak.
“We've been a resilient team all year,” Curry said. “Obviously with our record we haven't lost two in row all year and there's a reason for that because of our mentality.”
The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls that won a record 72 games notched victory No. 50 in their 56th contest. The Warriors can better that Monday.
Draymond Green recorded his NBA-leading 11th triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as he started at center Saturday for an injured Andrew Bogut, who sat out with a strained right Achilles and is questionable in Atlanta.
Teague's potential absence would affect this matchup of teams averaging the most assists, with Golden State at 29.1 and Atlanta at 25.5. One reason for that difference is that the Warriors average a league-best 9.3 secondary assists, defined as passes made by a player to a player who earned an assist, compared to the Hawks' 7.4 mark.