The Atlanta Hawks get a chance to return home, which is normally a good thing. But guess who's waiting for the young club? None other than reigning NBA champion Golden State.
And while Golden State is off to a slower start (15-9) than in the past, the Warriors just got guard Steph Curry back from an 11-game absence due to a left groin strain. The club was 5-6 in games without him. Curry scored 27 points in a 111-102 loss to Detroit on Saturday, when he played 36 minutes and added five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"It felt good to be back out there," Curry said after the game. "But in the first half I was going 100 mph without my timing being back. In the second half, I played a lot closer to where I want to be. The shots started falling and I was aggressive without making stupid plays."
The Warriors have been carried by forward Kevin Durant in Curry's absence. Durant is averaging 30 points (second in the league), 7.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He had 28 points in the loss to Detroit.
Klay Thompson has scored 20 points in 14 of the last 15 games, including the last eight. That ties his career-best streak for the fourth time. Thompson is averaging 22.8 points, 15th best in the NBA.
Atlanta (5-18) lost two the final two games of its three-game road trip, falling 124-109 at Oklahoma City on Friday.
The Hawks are hopeful that first-round draft pick Trae Young will be able to emerge from his shooting slump. He was 4-for-15 from the field and 0-for-3 on 3-pointers in the loss to the Thunder.
"You know, it's tough," Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said. "The ball just keeps going in and out for him."
Despite the growing pains, Young has had an eventful first season. He's averaging 15.6 points, third-best among the league's rookies, with 7.6 assists - seventh in the league and best among rookies.
Atlanta has also been encouraged by the play of second-year power forward John Collins, who is averaging 14.9 points and 6.8 rebounds after missing the first 15 games with an ankle injury.
The Warriors game in Atlanta is the third game of season-long five-game road trip that spans nine days and features five cities. Golden State has lost the first two games of the road trip. Taurean Prince is averaging 15.1 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Neither team is playing at full strength. Golden State's Draymond Green has missed the last eight games with a right toe sprain and Alfonzo McKinnie has missed the last eight games with left foot soreness. Atlanta is playing without backup point guard Jeremy Lin (left ankle sprain) and Alex Poythress (left ankle contusion).
This will be the second meeting between the clubs this season. Golden State won 110-103 when it hosted the Hawks on Nov. 13. The Warriors have won their last eight and 13 of their last 14 games against Atlanta. The Hawks haven't beaten the Warriors since Feb. 8, 2015.