Atlanta's Tough Defense To Prevent Rockets From Launching

Charles Stark

Thursday, February 2, 2017 4:55 AM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 4:55 AM UTC

The Houston Rockets are coming off of a huge blowout of the Sacramento Kings but things get a bit tougher versus the Atlanta Hawks tonight. While Houston have had one night of rest Atlanta is on the second leg of a back-to-back. Can the Hawks keep this game close?

Atlanta Hawks

Since the beginning of the new year Atlanta has played some solid basketball and I believe they can stay within the number tonight versus James Harden and company. They met up with Houston earlier this season winning easily but tonight will be a different scenario on the road and off of no rest. This is a very balanced Atlanta team averaging 103.8 points per game and ranking in the middle of the league in most of their shooting statistics highlighted by shooting 50.1% on their two-point shots. Across the board offensively there is nothing flashy about this Atlanta team but they are unselfish and move the ball really well averaging 24.3 assists per game ranking fifth in the NBA. On the other side of the ball they have been better than most teams allowing opponents to shoot just 44.9% from the floor along with allowing 104 points per game ranking them ninth and 10th respectively in the league. Although I have a hard time believing they can win in the spot this is a well coached team that plays solid basketball on both sides the ball and should give Houston a run for their money.

Houston Rockets

Despite their big win over Sacramento Houston has been playing less than stellar basketball over the past month as their lack of defense has started to catch up to them. With head coach Mike D’Antoni we know the offense will always click at a high rate as they averaged 114.1 points per game. Across the board thy have been very solid in putting the ball in the basket ranking second in scoring along with second in both shooting efficiency and effective field-goal percentage. It is on the other side of the ball where they really struggle ranking in the bottom third of the NBA in most defensive categories allowing opponents 108 points per game, as well as allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the floor. They also rank 27th in the league giving up 40.2 field goals made per game. We know they can score some points but with these type of defensive numbers they are not going to make any serious push in the playoffs and tonight, although they should win, expect Atlanta keep this game close.

NBA Odds

Odds makers have come out making Houston a big -9 favorite but for my NBA pick, I will take the points with Atlanta.  Although they are on the second leg of a back to back I expect them to hang tough with a poor defensive team in Houston.

Free NBA Pick: Atlanta +9Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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