Hawks vs. Wizards NBA Picks: Back Atlanta in High-Scoring Game 3 in Washington

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 9:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 6, 2015 9:16 PM UTC

Our resident NBA handicapping professional previews Game 3 of the playoff series between Washington and Atlanta on Saturday. We encourage you to read this intriguing betting article which culminates with a totals selection.

Hawks/Wizards Series resumes in Washington on Saturday
The Washington Wizards will host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at 5:05 PM ET. According to the NBA odds at Bookmaker, Washington is a 2.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 200.5. The series is currently tied 1-1 after the teams split the two games in Atlanta.


Regular Season and Playoff Meetings
This will be the seventh meeting of the season between these two rivals, and six of those contests have gone over the total. Ironically, the only one that stayed under the number was in Game 2 of this playoff series on Tuesday. Atlanta won that game 106-90, and it narrowly stayed under the total of 199.0. Each team won three games in the previous six encounters, and Atlanta is 4-1-1 ATS.


Wizards Series Overview
There’s a bit of an odd pattern regarding Washington’s shooting during the first two games of this series. They’ve gone 21-for-47 (44.6%) from beyond the three point line, and just 52-for-126 (41.3%) on their two-point field goal tries. Washington really hurt itself in their Game 2 loss by getting to the free throw line just 14 times, and also converted on just 8 of those attempts, equating to a poor 57.1%. That was in stark contrast to the series opener in which they were a superb 19-for-22 during a 104-98 win. The Washington Wizards only turned the ball over six times in their Game 1 win, and did so on sixteen occasions during a loss in Game 2. Being without the services of star point guard John Wall (hand injury) in Game 2 surely was a key contributing factor to the increase in turnovers, and inability to get to the free throw line.


Series Key Stats for Hawks
Contrary to the Wizards, the Atlanta Hawks have done a terrific job at the free throw line in the first two games by converting on 33 of 39 attempts (84.6%). Although they made good on just 34.3% of their long distance attempts, the Hawks did make a combined 23 three-point shots in the first two games. Atlanta is averaging 27 three-point attempts per game this season. However in the first two games of the series they averaged 33.5 attempts per contest. The Hawks have also done a very good job of taking care of the basketball in the first two games, committing only 10.5 turnovers per outing.


Final Analysis
The pace in each of the first two games of this series made for some fairly entertaining basketball. Atlanta has an average of 91.5 field goal attempts per game, and the Wizards were at 86.5. Both teams not only shot very well from beyond the three point line during the two games in Atlanta, but each club also attempted well above their season averages. If not for a 15-point fourth quarter by the Wizards in Game 2, we’d be looking at all six meetings between these teams this season all going over the total. John Wall is likely to return to the lineup for the Wizards on Saturday, and that surely will make a difference. I like Game 3 to play on the high side of the number for one of my NBA picks on Saturday.

NBA Picks: Play on Atlanta and Washington to go over the total of 200.5 on Saturday.

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