Warriors-Hawks Preview

The Associated Press

Without one of the team's top scorers, the Golden State Warriors were held to their fewest points of the season in their return from the All-Star break.

Things could get tougher for the Warriors if All-Star Joe Johnson returns to Atlanta's lineup Tuesday night when they look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Hawks.

With third-leading scorer and outside threat Stephen Curry (16.5 points per game) on the bench nursing a strained foot tendon, Golden State (13-18) went a season-low 3 of 22 from 3-point range during Tuesday's 102-78 loss at Indiana. It's uncertain if Curry, a 45.0 percent shooter from beyond the arc, will be able to return Wednesday. Regardless, the Warriors need to leave Tuesday's mess behind them.

"Like coach (Mark Jackson) said after the game, if anyone thought they played well, they're kidding themselves,'' said forward David Lee, who was held to 12 points.

"We have another important one in Atlanta and we need to correct the mistakes and go get a game (Wednesday)."

Monta Ellis and Brandon Rush each scored 14 points as the Warriors shot a season-low 34.1 percent and were held 21 points below the 99.2 they averaged coming into the contest.

"Embarrassing,'' Jackson said. "We got outworked. We did not take care of the basketball. The disappointing part is that we allowed our inability to make shot to affect the way we defended.

"This is not our brand of basketball. We'll see what we're made of (Wednesday night)."

With or without Curry, Golden State faces a stiff challenge trying to snap a three-game losing streak overall and on the road against Atlanta (20-14), which could have Johnson back on the floor. One of the NBA's top defenders, Johnson missed the final two games prior to the break with a knee injury.

Johnson is scoring 19.2 points per game in his career against the Warriors, but he's averaged 12.7 during the Hawks' three-game series winning streak. Teammate Josh Smith, meanwhile, is averaging 25.7 and 9.3 rebounds during that same stretch versus Golden State.

Smith had 22 points and 12 boards as Atlanta snapped a three-game losing streak with an 83-78 home win over Orlando on Thursday. Jannero Pargo scored 15 off the bench and fellow reserve Willie Green added 14 as the Hawks won for the fourth time in 12 games.

Though the Hawks blew a 17-point halftime lead, they held Orlando to 37.8 shooting.

"When we're playing defense and playing energetic the way we're capable of, we'll be in the game at the end and have a chance to win,'' Green said.

Though Atlanta has allowed 106.4 points per contest while winning eight of the last 11 meetings with Golden State, the Hawks have averaged 111.5 on 48.7 percent shooting during that span. The Warriors, however, were held to their lowest home point total of the season during a 95-79 loss to Atlanta in the most recent meeting Feb. 25, 2011.

Ellis is averaging 22.2 points this season, but he has totaled 28 on 11-of-34 shooting in the last two games against the Hawks.

What to Read Next