Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 7:00 pm ET at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia and can be seen on NBA TV.
Due to home court advantage and being in playoff contention, odds makers have deemed Atlanta as a 6 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 197.5. Both of these teams are on 2 game winning streaks. Are the Hawks deserving of being such a large favorite?
Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague
Atlanta must take care of business against the weaker squads in the league and that’s just what they’ve done in their last 2 games against Utah and Milwaukee. Both games were highly-contested games, but with the help of Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague, the Hawks were able to stand their ground as the number 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Millsap is a massive player that’s somewhat soft as a player, but has managed to put up the same type of numbers that he did with Utah. Not only that, he came up big against his old team with a 23 point and 8 rebound performance.
In his last 2 games, Millsap has raised the level of his game, averaging 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting over 50% from the field. This is a 253 pounder that has an inside game as well as being able to hit the 3-ball.
Teague is the Hawks leading ball distributor but can also provide a sufficient amount of offense from the point guard position. In his last 10 games, he’s averaged 19.2 points and 6.3 assists. The Hawks defense is ranked 23rd in the league in points allowed, therefore it’s essential that Millsap and Teague play well in a big game against a Denver Nuggets team who has allowed 105.8 points per game.
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They Beat the Heat
Not many teams can lay claim to that accomplishment, but the Nuggets are coming off of a huge 111-107 victory over Lebron James and the Miami Heat in South Beach. One of the contributing factors to the victory was Denver’s ability to protect the glass. They rank 4th in the NBA in rebounds at 45.3 rebounds per game.
The Nuggets are a team that revolves around the play of point guard Ty Lawson. Lawson’s shooting was off against the Heat, going 2 for 7, but he found a way to contribute with 9 assists and 4 steals . With Randy Foye and Evan Fournier backing him up, Lawson is quickly becoming one of the better point guards in the NBA and the Nuggets have great depth at the guard position.
When thinking of high energy on the Nuggets squad, look no further than Newark, New Jersey native and power forward, Kenneth Faried. Faried can sometimes try to do too much, but lately he’s been on fire. In his last 5 games, Faried is averaging 23.8 points and 11 rebounds per game on 66.7 % shooting from the field. This is well above his seasonal average of 12.3 points per game. If Faried continues to play like this, the Hawks could have their hands full.
Denver has been a consistent 50 win team in recent seasons and is a much better team than their record indicates. Even though the Hawks need this game badly, 6 points are too much to give up. Take Denver and the points.
Pick - Denver +6 at Bet 365