|Young, bench help Hawks cruise to 5th consecutive victory|
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Two teams experiencing opposite ends of the NBA scheduling spectrum go head-to-head Wednesday night when the Atlanta Hawks host the Sacramento Kings.
Atlanta has won four in a row, including the last three of its four-game homestand that ended in a 110-108 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night.
After a quick jaunt to Charlotte for a 113-91 romp on Sunday and two days off, the Hawks embark on another homestand, this one a five-gamer. In all, Atlanta will play nine of 10 at home over the 19-day stretch.
Trae Young, who has averaged 31.3 points during the winning streak, clearly hasn't forgotten the five straight losses that preceded the current run.
"Obviously, we're winning more, so we're definitely headed in the right direction," he said after the win at Charlotte, "but it's more about consistency. That's all I want: To keep it going and not feel satisfied."
Having gotten Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari back from injuries recently, the Hawks hope to add another weapon to the attack with the possibility that Bogdan Bogdanovic (sore right knee) will return from a five-game absence.
The former King, who left Sacramento as a free agent after three productive seasons, has faced his old mates just twice since signing with the Hawks in November 2020.
He shot just 2-for-12 and totaled just six points in a 121-106 Atlanta home win last March, before getting back on his game in his first Sacramento homecoming, going for 20 points on a 7-for-11 night against the Kings in Atlanta's 110-108 loss 11 days later.
The clubs have met once since, that coming while Bogdanovic was dealing with a four-game absence in COVID protocol. Atlanta got 25 points from Kevin Huerter in that one, a 108-102 win at Sacramento three weeks ago.
This time around, the Hawks will see Sacramento on the second night of a road back-to-back, with the Kings having been blown out 128-75 at Boston on Tuesday.
A five-game Eastern survey of heavyweights tipped off with a 133-127 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday. The Kings still have stops remaining in Philadelphia on Saturday and New York on Monday.
Interim coach Alvin Gentry was as discouraged by the result in Boston as he was encouraged by the Milwaukee effort.
"I'm disappointed because I thought we competed and did a good job in Milwaukee and gave ourselves an opportunity to win," he said. "But we were never, ever in this game, really. Right from the start of the game, we were never in it, and that's very disappointing to me."
If there was a silver lining to the loss to the Celtics, the Kings' fourth loss in a row, it was that they were able to call off the dogs early. All 13 who suited up for Sacramento played at least eight minutes, with no one called upon for more than 30.
Reserve Buddy Hield led the 12 Kings who scored with 11 points.
Sacramento played a second straight game without standout point guard De'Aaron Fox, who is dealing with a sore left ankle. The team's leading scorer made the trip with the intent to return at some point and has yet to be ruled out of the Atlanta game.
--Field Level Media