PREVIEW: Atlanta Hawks set for first-ever visit to Golden State Warriors’ new arena

By Field Level Media
Mar 13, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribble the ball at mid court against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks will become the 30th and final NBA team to play a game in San Francisco’s 2-year-old Chase Center when they make their arena debut Friday night for a matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

Both teams will be seeking to end losing streaks, and each is a point guard down in the clubs’ first meeting of the season.

The teams will square off in a rematch on April 4 at Atlanta, by which point the Hawks figure to have newcomer Lou Williams in the lineup, while the Warriors hope that injured Stephen Curry will be back.

Atlanta likely will be without Williams on Friday, just a little more than 24 hours after he was acquired at the trade deadline. The Hawks sent a valuable member of their reserve crew, veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, to the Los Angeles Clippers for Williams, a high-scoring backup, plus two second-round picks and cash.

The Hawks had been rumored to be involved in several deals but largely elected to stand pat after a recent eight-game winning streak solidified their Eastern Conference playoff position.

“Being able to acquire a respected veteran in Lou Williams, one of the best scorers and playmakers off the bench in league history, and two second-round picks accomplished a couple of the goals we had,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said of the team’s only move. “We are excited to see what Lou can add to our second unit as we try to finish this season strong.”

Atlanta will be playing for the fourth time on an eight-game road run through more than half of the Western Conference. They opened with a back-to-back in Los Angeles — beating the Lakers and losing to the Clippers — before taking a second straight loss, 110-108 at Sacramento on Wednesday.

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The Warriors share that latter distinction with the Hawks, having fallen hard, 141-119, at Sacramento on Thursday. Golden State played without Curry, who is sidelined due to a bruised tailbone, and Draymond Green, the apparent victim of the aftereffects of a COVID shot on Wednesday.

Golden State, which has lost three in a row, all in Curry’s absence, hope to get Green back on Friday for the finale of a back-to-back set.

Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 26 points in the loss at Sacramento, then declared afterward he wouldn’t be missing any games because of a COVID shot.

“I don’t really see myself getting it anytime soon unless forced to, somehow,” he said.

The Warriors and Hawks met only one time last season, that having been nearly 16 months ago on Dec. 2, 2019, a game Curry also missed, because of a broken hand.

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Trae Young paced the Hawks to a 104-79 home romp that night with 24 points.

In Atlanta’s Wednesday loss at Sacramento, Young had 29 points and Clint Capela added 25 points and 17 rebounds.

That duo was the driving force in Atlanta’s winning streak that ended Monday against the Clippers. Young averaged 22.4 points per game over the eight games, hitting 2.5 3-pointers per outing, while Capela averaged a double-double (11.4 points, 14.8 rebounds) in the five games in which he played.

–Field Level Media