Expect Road-Tripped-Out Hawks to Provide Little Fight in Denver

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 8:21 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 8:21 PM UTC

The Atlanta Hawks complete a five-game Western Conference road trip Wednesday night and likely won’t have much left in the tank when they visit Denver.

Atlanta Hawks at Denver NuggetsFree NBA Pick: NuggetsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3264060, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,999991,93,19,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

It’s a 9 p.m. ET tipoff Wednesday between these teams in Atlanta’s only visit of the year to Denver. It’s the second-latest starting game of the night (Clippers-Warriors at 10:30).

The Hawks have won their past two trips to the Mile High City, but the Nuggets go for the season sweep as they won in Atlanta on Oct. 27, 105-100. Denver still had a healthy Paul Millsap then, and of course he was the Hawks’ best player for the past couple of years but signed a big free-agent deal in Denver last summer. Millsap, now out until after the All-Star break following wrist surgery, scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter of that one.

Nikola Jokic had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds in the Nuggets' first win in Atlanta in six years. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 20 points and Dewyane Dedmon had 13 points and 10 boards. The Hawks are still 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings.

[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/9mH1gbez18c", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]

Hawks Set Up To Fail Here

In my opinion, the best time to pick against any team in the NBA is at the end of a long-distance road trip and right ahead of a very long homestand. That’s where the NBA-worst Hawks (10-30 SU, 21-17-2 ATS) are right now as that end of a trip and, starting Friday, nine of their next 10 are home.

The Hawks started a five-game trip out west Jan. 2 in Phoenix with a loss, were blown out last Friday in Portland and Sunday at the Lakers, and then lost in the final seconds Monday at the Clippers. Taurean Prince missed a 15-foot jumper with three seconds remaining vs. the Clips. He was a game-time decision after dislocating his right ring finger against the Lakers but finished with 20 points. Dedmon returned from a long injury absence Monday and had six points and three boards in 20 minutes.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Last night @taureanprince recorded his fourth 20+ point game in three weeks. The sophomore is ballin' 🏀 pic.twitter.com/8JrpNqkjE8

— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 9, 2018
\n"}[/]

The Hawks are in full-blown rebuild/tank mode. Prince looks like a solid keeper as he’s averaging 13.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in his second year. Atlanta is definitely shopping veterans such as Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline. This team doesn’t do much well but is leading the NBA in forcing 16.6 turnovers per game, leading to 18.6 points (that’s third).

Denver (21-19 SU, 19-19-2 ATS) is battling for its first playoff spot since 2013, and I think will get it if the team at least treads water until Millsap returns and doesn’t lose anyone else of value. The Nugs just completed a two-game road trip through California with losses in Sacramento on Saturday and Golden State on Monday. It’s not often a team loses with four guys scoring at least 20 points, but Denver pulled that off against the Dubs as Jokic had a triple-double of 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Gary Harris had 22 points, Jamal Murray 21 and Trey Lyles 21 – Lyles has really been playing well. In his past five, he’s putting up 19.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as the first big off the bench. Lyles has rendered Kenneth Faried worthless as Faried rarely plays now.

The Nuggets have one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA with that altitude, and they are 14-4 at the Pepsi Center (11-7 ATS). Denver has covered four of its past five there vs. teams with a losing road record. It will do so here on NBA picks.

comment here