With the recent play of the Pelicans, the Suns have virtually fallen out of the playoff race in the West. They are three games back with only five to go, and their NBA Odds aren’t looking good. However tonight against a less than 100% Hawks, the Suns could make a move with a win.
Two late-season injuries
The Hawks and Suns are both struggling through some late season injuries, and while it won’t affect the Hawks’ playoff standings at all, the injury for the Suns ultimately may have cost them a playoff spot. Brandon Knight was just starting to gel with the Suns when he badly sprained his ankle about three weeks ago. He has had some set backs, and missing a dozen games in the West in the heart of a playoff race really killed the Suns. Knight was supposed to cushion the offensive blow of losing both Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline, but without Knight the Suns offense became predictable and inefficient. Knight has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
On the Hawks side you have Paul Millsap who took a scary fall and injured his shoulder a few nights ago, and he will not play tonight or in the Hawks next game. It seems like Millsap escaped without serious injury, but at this point in the season when the Hawks have the #1 seed wrapped up already, it would be a shame for one of their core players to go down. However the Hawks do have some good injury-related news for this game, as Dennis Schroder will make his return to the lineup tonight after missing the last two games with a toe injury.
The Sharp Pick
Being without Millsap’s offense and defense tonight is a big factor tonight. The Hawks have an Offensive Efficiency rating of 111.7 when Millsap is on the floor, and it drops to 104.6 when he rests. While the Hawks defense stays relatively the same when he is on or off the floor for the season, in tonight’s matchup against the Morris twins, it’s going to mean a lot more. The Hawks really don’t have anyone to matchup with Markieff Morris tonight, so for all you DFS players out there, this is a stamp of approval. With that being said, the pace of this game is going to go up as well for the Hawks, and with an NBA odds total of only 203 points, the over is where I’m going with this one tonight.
The Hawks have cashed the over in seven of their last ten games, and while the Suns are on an incredible streak of cashing the under here late in the season, it hasn’t been because their defense has been good. The Suns have given up nearly 103 points per game in their last four games, and that is with only giving up 85 to the Jazz in their previous game. While Brandon Wright is a good rim defender, if the Hawks are making shots from outside the Suns defense will collapse. No matter if the Hawks play all of their starters 35 minutes or 25 minutes tonight, the Suns have enough to score into the upper 90s tonight. Take the over for your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: OVER 203