PREVIEW: Sacramento Kings host Atlanta Hawks, aim to improve on 3-pointers

Mar 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles the ball past LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings hope playing on their home court improves their 3-point shooting when they seek to avenge to an earlier loss to the Atlanta Hawks in a rematch in the California capital on Wednesday night.

The Kings will open a three-game homestand after winning three of their past four games to salvage a split on a six-game Eastern trip that began with a clunker in Atlanta on March 13.

The Hawks took advantage of a 15-point advantage in 3-pointers in that game to account for the margin of victory, 121-106.

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Getting five 3-pointers in 10 attempts from Trae Young on his 28-point night, the Hawks shot 12-for-33 on threes (36.4 percent), while the Kings were just 7-of-36 (19.4 percent).

Sacramento’s Buddy Hield (2-for-11) and De’Aaron Fox (2-for-10) combined for 17 of the 29 misses.

In a 119-105 win at Cleveland on Monday, Hield was 5-for-10 on 3-pointers and Tyrese Haliburton was 4-for-5 to highlight a 43.3-percent team effort (13-of-30).

Haliburton finished with 28 points, then used the platform of his postgame press conference to attempt to silence those who now are calling him the Rookie of the Year favorite with Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball out with a broken wrist.

“It was kind of frustrating to see people tagging me and stuff and hitting me up. It seemed like people were excited or something,” Haliburton said of news of Ball’s injury. “I hated that. I think that’s terrible. LaMelo’s obviously had a really good year, a great rookie year. He’s really been hooping. It’s unfortunate what happened to him.

“I’m praying for him. I hope he heals up the right way.”

Haliburton was among the Kings players who shot poorly from beyond the arc in the earlier loss at Atlanta, going just 2-for-6. He also committed three fouls, one of six Kings who drew three or more. The Hawks shot 17 more free throws than the visitors, turning them into a 23-13 scoring advantage.

The Hawks used the win to build momentum during an eight-game winning streak. But three of those wins came at home, a place the Hawks won’t see again until April 4.

Atlanta has tipped off a two-week, eight-game trip with a split in Los Angeles, beating the Lakers 99-94 on Saturday before falling 119-110 to the Clippers on Monday.

Atlanta added a weapon against the Clippers when De’Andre Hunter played for the first time since Jan. 29, when he suffered a knee injury that required a meniscus debridement procedure.

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Before the game, he sounded more excited to celebrate his team’s winning streak than his own health improvement.

“We’re playing with a lot more energy,” he observed. “Guys are really connected right now on the defensive end and offensive end. I think we’re playing for each other. I feel like that’s the biggest thing, playing for each other.”

Hunter played 20 minutes against the Clippers, scoring eight points.

–Field Level Media