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DeMarcus Cousins And Sacramento Kings Look To Keep On Improving Against Atlanta Hawks

After DeMarcus Cousins was benched for making the choke sign against the Golden State Warriors, it looked like the Sacramento Kings were hitting the rock bottom of the league. But after incredible heroics by Tyreke Evans to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, and another nice mini-comeback against the Phoenix Suns, the Kings seem to be playing better, particularly Cousins, who's averaging a double-double during their three game stretch (21.7 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game).

Into town comes the Atlanta Hawks, who are wrapping up a four game West Coast road trip. The Hawks are just outside the elite group of teams in the Eastern Conference (including the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat), but they aren't ready to be counted out, and at 22-14 aren't too far behind. However, they're coming off a sluggish win against the Los Angeles Clippers, despite Joe Johnson trying to shoot himself out of a slump with jumpers (and failing), Josh Smith shooting 1 for 10, and Al Horford battling early foul troubles. Jamal Crawford powered their offense off the bench, and the Hawks ratcheted up their defense to hold onto victory.

Sacramento will need to be disciplined enough to drive it inside and force Atlanta to take contested jumpers. If they do, they might be able to steal a much-needed victory as they close up the home-heavy part of their schedule.