The Atlanta Hawks (3-14) are returning home to Philips Arena tomorrow night following a 96-85 loss in San Antonio on Monday night.
The loss was the 10th of the season by 11 points or less and the chance pick up a few more wins and stop their current two-game losing streak. Leading scorer Dennis Schroder only managed 14 points (and nine assists) last night, five points under his 19.7 points per game average, and will be needed in a big way if the Hawks are going to take any one of the next four games on their schedule.
Despite a four-game homestand beginning on Wednesday night with the L.A. Clippers, the Hawks are in no way at an advantage.
Following the Clippers, Atlanta will host three of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference starting with the New York Knicks, currently 9-7 and in sixth place, on Friday night.
The Toronto Raptors, second in the East behind the Boston Celtics with an 11-5 record, will be next on Saturday night followed by Cleveland Cavaliers next Thursday.
The Hawks beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland 117-115 on Nov. 5 but this isn’t exactly that same Cavaliers team. Cleveland has won six of their last seven games, their only loss coming in Houston to Rockets by four points.
The emergence of rookie forward John Collins (career-high 21 points on Monday) and the steady play of second-year forward Taurean Prince (18 points and eight rebounds in his homecoming game in San Antonio) has the team with high hopes for the future.
But, for the time being, those young players along with second-year forward DeAndre’ Bembry — who is recently back in action following wrist surgery — and Schroder will be needed now if Atlanta is going to ever start their first win streak of the season. This week, against some of the best teams in the East, would be a great time to start it.