Look for Lower-Scoring Game in Dwight Howard’s Return to Atlanta

hornets hawks

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:44 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 7:44 PM GMT

If the Charlotte Hornets have any shot at reaching the playoffs, they must beat bottom-feeder teams like the Hawks as they meet Wednesday night (7:30 ET) in Atlanta.

Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta HawksFree NBA Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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It’s a 7:30 p.m. ET tip from Philips Arena – which probably will be half-full at best – on Wednesday as Charlotte makes the first of two visits this season to Atlanta. The Hornets have had little trouble winning both meetings at home in the 2017-18 season.

On Oct. 20, the Hornets were 4.5-point favorites in their home opener and beat the Hawks 109-91. Dwight Howard had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Kemba Walker 26 points. Charlotte trailed by as much as 20 in the first half but had a 24-0 third-quarter run. The Hornets were without starters Nic Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller. Dennis Schroder had 25 points to lead Atlanta.

Last Friday, the Hornets were -7 and won 121-110. Walker had 29 points and Howard 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Hawks were led by Taurean Prince’s 21 points, but Schroder was held to 11. Atlanta shot 15-for-30 from long range but turned it over 20 times.

The Hawks lead the all-time series 61-50 (37-19 at home). The home team is 12-3-1 ATS in the past 16 meetings.

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you just got traded while talking about others pic.twitter.com/3IkgOIQbpM

— Arjun Sethi (@Roguelost) June 21, 2017
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Welcome Back, Dwight?

Howard is an Atlanta native who signed a three-year, $71 million free-agent deal with the Hawks before the 2016-17 season and was shocked that he was traded this past June. In fact, Howard was hosting a Twitter Q&A in which he addressed trade rumors involving other players when this deal went down (see tweet above). Perhaps Howard shouldn’t have been surprised considering he was traded because he had a very diminished role with the team in the 2017 playoffs, sitting out the fourth quarter in two of six games during the Hawks' first-round loss to the Wizards.

Atlanta committed to a full-blown tank job this season and dumped Howard’s salary and the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 draft for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick. Charlotte took Duke point guard Frank Jackson with that pick but traded him to New Orleans, while Atlanta took Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey. He doesn’t play much.

It will be interesting to see how Howard is welcomed here in his return. He’s booed in Orlando, Houston and Los Angeles, sites of other former teams, when he returns to those cities, but he never wanted to leave his hometown. Howard is having a nice season, averaging 15.9 points and 12.7 rebounds with 31 double-doubles, which are fifth in the league. Still, the Hornets would love to trade him – they are open for business on everyone just like Atlanta is.

Charlotte won’t have forward Marvin Williams on Wednesday as he has been ruled out with an ankle sprain suffered in Monday’s loss at Indiana. Frank Kaminsky will likely slide into the starting lineup. Williams, incidentally, was the No. 2 overall pick by Atlanta in the 2005 draft. That was a giant blunder as the Hawks could have taken Chris Paul, who went No. 4.

The Hawks snapped a three-game skid Monday with a 105-100 home upset win of the Timberwolves. It was Atlanta’s sixth straight home win against a Western Conference team, which is odd. It has covered just one of its past six following a win and is 0-6 ATS in its past six vs. Eastern Conference teams, though.

Not a great feel on the side here, but the ‘under’ has hit in the past seven meetings in Atlanta and is 6-1 in the Hawks’ past seven at home overall. The ‘under’ is 5-2 in Charlotte’s past seven on the road. That’s the Wednesday NBA pick.

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