Atlanta (34-23) at Golden State (26-30)

By JEFF MEZYDLO, STATS Senior Writer Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 Tipoff: 10:30 pm EST Fri Feb 25, 2011

After struggling for two weeks, the Atlanta Hawks hope a new addition will help them get back on track.

Veteran Kirk Hinrich(notes) could make his Atlanta debut when the visiting Hawks try to avoid matching a season high with their fourth consecutive loss Friday night against the Golden State Warriors.

Atlanta (34-23) is fifth in the Eastern Conference, but has lost five of its last six. Its latest defeat, 105-97 at Phoenix on Wednesday, came hours after trading Mike Bibby(notes), Jordan Crawford(notes), Maurice Evans(notes) and a 2011 first-round pick to Washington for Hinrich and forward Hilton Armstrong(notes).

With the 32-year-old Bibby having lost step at both ends of the court and second-year backup Jeff Teague(notes) averaging 4.0 points and 1.7 assists, the Hawks hope Hinrich can provide some stability at point guard.

In his eighth NBA season, Hinrich averaged 11.1 points and 4.4 assists in 48 games with 29 starts for Washington.

“We have been searching for a point guard, someone who can come in and run this club,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “I am not saying that Mike didn’t do a good job. There just comes a point with the team where a change has to take place.

“With Kirk he brings toughness at that position. He is a heady guy, a smart guy and can make shots, all the tangibles we were looking for.”

While the Hawks sacrificed depth, the remaining players are willing to let the move play out.

“We have to wait and see what happens,” Atlanta All-Star Joe Johnson(notes) said.

The Hawks hope Hinrich also can provide some improvement on offense over Bibby and help a club that’s averaged 88.3 points and shot 43.8 percent over the last six games.

Atlanta shot 48.1 percent at Phoenix, but couldn’t overcome an 18-point deficit. Josh Smith(notes) scored 26 points, but Johnson was held to 12 on 5-of-13 shooting.

Johnson is averaging 19.3 points per game - his lowest in six seasons with the Hawks - and 11.3 while shooting 39.2 percent over the last six contests. The veteran swingman has totaled 26 points the last two games overall against the Warriors, but averaged 26.0 in the last four at Golden State.

Though Smith had 22 points with 10 boards in a 103-93 home win over the Warriors (26-30) on Dec. 29, the Hawks have allowed 113.5 points per game while dropping their last two trips to the Bay Area.

Golden State is 4 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the West despite winning seven of 10.

The Warriors had a three-game winning streak snapped with Tuesday’s 115-93 loss to Boston. Leading scorer Monta Ellis(notes) was held to 15 points - 10 below his average.

Ellis had 12 on 4-of-13 shooting at Atlanta in December, but has scored 26 in each of his last two at home against the Hawks.

Golden State also made a minor trade Wednesday, sending backup forwards Brandan Wright(notes) and Dan Gadzuric(notes) to New Jersey for veteran Troy Murphy(notes) and a 2012 second-round pick.

“Our draft-pick situation could use some help,” Warriors general manager Larry Riley said. “Whenever we have an opportunity to acquire a draft pick within reason, we’ll do that.”

Murphy spent five-plus seasons with the Warriors after being selected 14th overall in 2001.

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