Official Game Thread: Kings at Hawks


lethalweapon3
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderators

MarvinBagley_1_11-30-19_vs_Nuggets-e1593

“BAG! ALERT! TRADING BAG ALERT!”

 

I may or may not have shared this opinion in earlier gamethreads, but one of my Stone Cold Lock predictions for this season was that no Head Coaches would be fired. Not unless some sketchy old cellphone messages propped up, or something.

Context matters, and you can’t get any more context for disappointing results in the standings and on the scoreboards than what this season offers. The shortened schedule, the lack of practice time, the lack of homecourt advantage, lengthy road trips, illness absences, hasty roster changes, revenue-strapped owners not eager to continue paying ex-personnel to sit at home, etc.

Then Minnesota went and changed the game, their GM unable to wait any longer to pry free his pal from Toronto. With Ryan Saunders handed his walking papers, I was left with no choice but to dust off my COACHES’ HOT SEAT RANKINGS.

Coaches get lumped into six categories. In reverse order, there’s FROZEN, COOL, TEPID, WARM, HOT, and FLAMING.  There’s a big list under FROZEN, some coaches a bit slushier than others. On the other end, I had nobody’s keister feeling char-grilled, or even superheated. Just a handful of taskmasters in the WARM grouping, topped by Saunders.

‘Tis a shame that we take interest in the demise of somebody’s occupation, especially in this economy. But it’s hard to feel too bad when Vegas betting lines were immediately flaring up, with “Who is the NEXT NBA Coach to be fired?”, upon Saunders’ dismissal. Leading the betting odds, in a tie, were Dwane Casey, an admittedly odd choice given his sterling role as Detroit’s tank general, and Sacramento’s Luke Walton.

Both Casey and Walton (+250, as of the day after Saunders’ canning) were on my WARM list, as were Washington’s Scott Brooks (+300, preseason odds leader for the FIRST coach to get fired) and Orlando’s Steve Clifford (+500). And one other fella.

Somebody, hopefully, made a little pocket cash guessing right on the Hawks’ Lloyd Pierce (+1000). Atlanta has moved on to hand the job to an assistant, but to the surprise of many, their visitors this evening, the Sacramento Kings (7:30 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, NBC Sports California), haven’t made the leap, yet.

Five weeks ago, Kings fans redirected their ire toward their punching bag for this season, departed ex-ESPN analyst Amin Elhassan, who dissed De’Aaron Fox in December by declaring that Ja Morant was already everything that Fox fashioned of himself. The Kings had turned around a 5-10 start with a nifty 7-1 stretch to get into .500 territory in the NBA West, Fox had become a league leader in clutch scoring and earning Player of the Week honors and plaudits for All-Star contention. And their fans were ragging on Elhassan not even realizing he already left the Four-Letter Network for Team LeBatard down in Miami.

No sooner had the shade been thrown that Sacramento’s winning ways were eclipsed by a nine-game losing skid. It began with the Kings getting swept in a five-game homestand at the hands of teams like the Magic and Morant’s Grizzlies. The Sactown swoon continued on the road, topped by a 19-point loss in New York.

The Kings ended the streak in Detroit the next night, but they returned home to drop a game in Orlando Magic-deflating style, blowing an 8-point lead to Charlotte in the final 73 seconds. Fans’ ire finally wafted away from random sports analysts and toward head coach Luke Walton, perhaps the one coach in the league thoroughly disliked by not one, but two NBA fanbases.

There is hope, though, that the dive back into Lottery Land for the umpteenth consecutive season might finally be bottoming out. Edging a Lakers squad, before the All-Star Break that was without LeBron and AD and starting 10-day contractee Damian Jones at center, likely salvaged Walton’s job. Thursday’s resounding 125-105 home win over the scraps of what was once the Houston Rockets, with Fox scoring 30-and-9 and a trio of starters adding 20 points apiece, was as much a relief for Coach Luke as it was a disappointment for a bet-maker over in Nevada.

The Kings (15-22, 3.5 games behind Morant’s 10-seed Grizzlies) have also been able to rely, in recent weeks, on steadier scoring from 2018 lottery prize Marvin Bagley III. He’s scored in double-digits in 12 straight games, shooting 54 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent on threes, while averaging 17-and-8 as a rebounder.

That’s good news for Marvin Bagley, Jr., the know-it-all father who tweeted for his son to be traded back when the big man was struggling in January (and that was when the Kings were merely at 3-3 on the young season). It’s also encouraging, for similar reasons, for GM Monte McNair, who has yet to really remake the team in his own image after taking the reins from Vlade Divac back in September.

As the Trade Deadline nears, not being dubbed “Err McNair”, weighted down and harshly judged by the enumerable mistakes of his predecessor’s past, is a priority for the Kings’ general manager. It’s unlikely he will be fielding calls with anyone from Atlanta. Still cleaning up from the debacles of acquisitions of Dewayne Dedmon and, still stuck in DNP Land on the roster, Jabari Parker, he could only watch in horror this summer as restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic, last year’s third-leading scorer, bailed by accepting a contract offer from the Hawks that his team couldn’t match.

McNair wants to be known as the guy who began righting the ship by not letting Tyrese Haliburton (3rd in rookie PPG, 2nd in rookie Win Shares and rookie APG) slip past him at pick #12 in November’s NBA Draft. Shooting a team-beat 43.4 3FG%, Haliburton would be a worthy starter alongside Fox, but the team, for now, is literally too indebted to Buddy Hield (career-low 39.0 FG%, career-high 34.9 minutes and 10.4 3FGAs per game).

Finding a taker for Hield’s bloated multi-year deal may require attaching Bagley and engaging several suitors, a tall order. But whether this season ends in playoffs or not, McNair probably values the ability to enter next season with a fresh new set of problems to solve, including the coach.

Atlanta (17-20) still has 99 problems, but the late-game coaching isn’t Problem #1 anymore. The Hawks have yet to provide the even, four-quarter effort that would suggest they’ve truly turned a corner. Getting one today against the Kings (league-worst D-Rating, opponent 3FG% and FT%) and allowing Nate McMillan (currently TEPID, on my hot-seat rankings list) to whip up a finishing sprint for the Hawks’ first four-game winning streak since Bud’s Bunch in April 2017? That would certainly be COOL.

Let’s Go Hawks!

~lw3

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 365
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Moderators

Hassan Whiteside continues to be out due to Health 'n Safety protocols, while the Metu Movement is still derailed as Chimezie heals his wrist from trying to rodeo Jonas Valanciunas.

All the usuals on the 5:30 boo-boo report for Atlanta, except for Onyeka "The Medium-Sized O" Okongwu, who's probable despite adductor soreness.

~lw3

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was waiting for this thread to pop up!

I'm worried about DeAaron Fox tonight. Fast lead guards who can get to the rim and break us down have been a huge problem for us. Remember the Boston series? We looked completely different when Kemba missed games 1 and 3 than when he played in game 2. Couldn't slow them down. Remember OKC? SGA was getting to wherever he wanted to go all night and we suffered as a result.

Ignore the records. Sac gave us problems last year. Their backcourt is a tough matchup for us; Trae can't guard Fox, you can't hide him on Hield or he may get cooked from deep, and Barnes is too big for Trae. Not to mention Joseph and Haliburton off the bench, they will get buckets too. This is what I will be watching tonight, how we move these guys around to defend their backcourt.

If it were up to me, I leave Trae on Fox, go under his screens, dare him to shoot. Funnel his drives to Clint, and on high PNR's trap him HARD. If Hield get's hot, he can shoot you out of the gym, so I'd much rather Kev or Tony stick him and let Fox try to do it all by himself against Trae.

You have to live with Trae losing his matchup on defense tonight and hope he has a great offensive showing for you. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
4 minutes ago, RedDawg#8 said:

I was waiting for this thread to pop up!

I'm worried about DeAaron Fox tonight. Fast lead guards who can get to the rim and break us down have been a huge problem for us. Remember the Boston series?

Without Cam and Hunter, this has been a problem for us vs Teams with these quick penetrating guards: Cavs and OKC in particular gave us fits.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, lethalweapon3 said:

to whip up a finishing sprint for the Hawks’ first four-game winning streak since Bud’s Bunch in April 2017?

Wow 😯 been a while, let’s get it and send Nate to 6-1. Nice game preview. Game time! 
 

Go Hawks!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, lethalweapon3 said:

Onyeka "The Medium-Sized O" Okongwu,

😆 Medium. Hope he is playing. It’ll be my boy medium vs @Gray Mule guy, baby 👶 Tyrese Hali. I’m usually with Gramps in rooting for the Kings since Spud n the rock 🪨 formed a nice lil backcourt (and the fact that I hate the Warriors since 1986). 
 

Obviously tonight I hope the Kings and Hali have an off night. I wanna extend the streaking s’more.

7 minutes from the tip LETS GOOOOO!!!!

Ps Hoping my neighbors aren’t home tonight. 🙄 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hawks ML -180 spread -4 o/u 239

I watched the Kings last game and they were playing really well. Specially Hield was really on it from downtown. Look out for underrated big man Holmes too that guy is the opposite of Alice Horford he wants contact. Get medium O and other bigs to fight him in the paint he’s a hustler.

 

6-1 Nate let’s go! GAME TIME!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, JayBirdHawk said:

Without Cam and Hunter, this has been a problem for us vs Teams with these quick penetrating guards: Cavs and OKC in particular gave us fits.

 

 

Just heard Nique say we have to collapse on Fox to slow him down. Well, we do that and you are leaving a deadly Hield open, and oh yeah, Barnes is hitting 38% from deep too. I say play him straight and let Clint meet him at the rim and JC crash the boards. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share