Here's our free preview & NBA pick for Wednesday's match, when the Atlanta Hawks look to extend their lead to 2-0 over the Brooklyn Nets as the NBA Playoffs continue in earnest.
Atlanta Hawks Lead Series 1-0
Atlanta Hawks will try to extend their lead to 2-0 over the visiting Brooklyn Nets when the first round series between these heated rivals resumes on Wednesday night. As it is, the NBA odds are heavily leaning towards the home win with the Hawks soaring at -500 to win outright. They are also trading as the 9.5-point home chalk, coming down slightly from an opening 10.5-points against the spread.
The Hawks clinched their fifth straight win over the Nets in game 1 of the series, winning 99-92 on Sunday to the delight of home fans. That they accomplished the feat with several All-Stars hobbled on the court is no minor achievement. Al Horford dislocated his right pinky finger on Sunday while Paul Millsap is playing with a sprained shoulder, to name a few.
The Hawks got off to a blistering start in the game, racing to a 32-20 lead in the first quarter. By the end of the first half, they were up 55-45. A concentrated effort by the Nets saw them close the gap in the second half of the game significantly, but the Hawks managed to hold on and win. Horford finished with ten points and ten rebounds while Kyle Korver scored 21 points, including five three-pointers. Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll each had 17 points.
Brooklyn Nets Hang Tough
Although the Brooklyn Nets lost game 1, they showed their mettle by rallying admirably in the second half and cutting a double-digit deficit to just five points (88-83) at one time before losing 99-92 in the end. Indeed, the Nets pulled off the cover as the whopping 11.5-point underdogs on Sunday.
Overall, the Nets have to be encouraged by their second half effort, which saw them suffer their most respectable loss to the Hawks yet. Four of their previous meetings featured an average 17.2-point margin of defeat. So to know they can hang tough against the mighty Hawks is a promising sign.
Of course, winning is the name of the game so a seven-point loss is small consolation. Problem is few believe the Nets are capable of pulling off the win in Game 2, let alone the series. Odds makers are trading a Nets win at +375 NBA odds.
If the Nets can take a page from Sunday's second half, they could make this a tougher series for the Hawks to win than early NBA predictions had it. For the Nets to accomplish the feat, however, they'll need to be sharp right from the start and try to disrupt the Hawks from setting the kind of fast pace they set to game 1, which allowed them to practically runaway with the game in the early goings.
Brook Lopez finished with 17 points and Thaddeus Young finished with 15 points, to name a few. Most encouragingly, they outrebounded the Hawks 47-39 and outscored them in the fourth quarter 30-25.
NBA Betting Verdict
Nobody that watched game 1 is going to be surprised about the way the NBA betting lines are taking shape. The Hawks set a furious pace to the game early and maintained the edge throughout the game and they go into Game 2 as the deserved favourites at -500 to win outright.
The Nets rallied and that gives them a sliver of hope in this game, but it would be an overestimation of their quality to suggest they can take the road win in Atlanta a the +375 underdogs. Brooklyn went 11-21 SU as away underdogs this season.
Where the Nets offer NBA betting value is against the spread. They enter this game as the 9.5-point underdogs and after sneaking in the cover in game 1 it's not overzealous to suggest they would do so again in game 2. The Nets went 18-14-0 ATS as road underdogs this season with a 6.7-point average margin of defeat. Take the Nets to cover as the value NBA pick in this match.
NBA Picks: Nets +9.5 at Pinnacle