Seattle is struggling as they try to rebuild a team around rookie Kevin Durant. But the Sonics still play hard and that makes Durant & Co. the play tonight at home vs. the Hawks.
The overnight lines for Friday’s NBA card look pretty good to me, but the one I feel has the most value is Seattle getting two points at home hosting Atlanta.
Seattle, of course, is a bottom-of-the-barrel team in the NBA this year, and understandably so; they are looking to build a future around Kevin Durant, and are using this season to gain him experience, work out a team identity, and generally rebuild. But that makes them a different sort of bottom-tier team than others such as the Knicks and the Clippers, who are so due to dysfunction.
Durant and the Supersonics are an assembly of players that have maintained a good attitude through all the losing, and are consequently primed for wins and good performances when the opportunity does present itself. I feel their game on Friday against Atlanta is one of those opportunities.
The Hawks have a few quality players, but in general they are neither deep nor unusually talented. They are currently in the midst of a long West Coast road trip, as well as on a four-game losing streak, and they are 3-8 overall in January after enjoying a surprisingly good December. Those are probably not conditions that merit being a road favorite against anyone in the NBA, especially not a team that is looking to fight and play well on occasion, as Seattle is.
Seattle also has a deep team for one with their record, and against a team like Atlanta, that will likely come into play down the stretch. Atlanta does not have anyone in the middle who will likely give the Sonics much trouble, and if Seattle can win the battle on the boards, as I suspect they will, Atlanta will be hard-pressed to come away with a win.
This one may be hard-fought, but I see the Sonics as much more geared up to win a fight at home than Atlanta will be slogging it through on the road. I think Seattle’s chances of winning are better than 50 percent, so I’ll take them +2 on Friday.