News » Hawks-Kings Preview 2009-11-04

Hawks-Kings Preview 2009-11-04

Hawks-Kings Preview 2009-11-04One key to a good start for the Atlanta Hawks will be playing well on the road.

The Hawks look for a second consecutive victory and fourth straight over the Sacramento Kings when they continue their four-game road trip Wednesday night.

Two nights after opening the swing with a 118-110 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta (3-1) won 97-91 at Portland on Tuesday. Jamal Crawford scored 27 points off the bench and Joe Johnson added 19 for the Hawks, who won despite failing to score at least 100 points for the first time in four contests.

This early road stretch offers Atlanta a chance to start strong, especially with winnable games at Sacramento and Charlotte on Friday to close the trip. The Hawks won their first four road games last season, but finished 16-25 for their 10th straight season with a losing record away from home.

The Hawks hope to change that as they seek a third consecutive playoff appearance.

Atlanta shot 46.3 percent and outscored Portland 50-34 in the paint thanks to a combined 23 points from Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia.

Whether home or away, more big nights from Crawford should help the Hawks.

Acquired in a trade with Golden State in June, Crawford went 8 for 16 from the field for a breakout game after recording 36 points in his previous three with his new team.

"This is the most fun I've had because I haven't had these kinds of athletes, ever. So it feels good," Crawford said of playing with the likes of Johnson, Mike Bibby and Josh Smith. "We have a really, really strong starting five and we have a really good bench, so we try to balance both and make the best of it."

Crawford is averaging 15.2 points against Sacramento, but 23.3 in his last three against the Kings.

"He's a shotmaker," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I haven't had a big-time guy off the bench like that who can score the ball.

Johnson, meanwhile, is averaging 22.0 points through four games and the same in his last three versus the Kings.

Mike Bibby, who's averaging just 9.5 points, had 29 and Johnson added 20 as the Hawks beat the Kings 105-100 on Feb. 18 to snap an eight-game losing streak at Sacramento.

After opening with three straight road losses, Sacramento (1-3) looks to build off a 127-116 overtime win over Memphis on Monday.

Kevin Martin scored 48 points while Beno Udrih added 16 and hit a game-tying layup in the closing seconds of regulation for the Kings, who went a miserable 11-30 at home last season.

"It wasn't a must win, but it was a much needed win," said Martin, who's averaging 31.0 points and scored all but 10 produced by the Kings' starting five.

Despite an unbalanced effort from his starters, first-year Kings coach Paul Westphal should be happy about his team's depth after the reserves scored 67 points. Spencer Hawes added 21 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Sacramento, which hadn't scored more than 94 points in its previous three games.

Martin scored 63 points on 48.4 percent from the field in two losses to Atlanta last season.

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Added: November 4, 2009


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