The Atlanta Hawks are picking up where they left off last regular season winning seven straight games since an opening loss and averaging 103.9 points, so go ‘over’ vs. Minnesota.
The biggest surprise in the NBA during the regular season last year seems anxious to prove 2014-15 was not a fluke, and with its opponent getting its leading scorer back, go ‘over’ Monday night when the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2, 3-2 ATS) pay a visit to those Atlanta Hawks (7-1, 5-2-1 ATS) at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA at 8:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southeast.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 203 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -108.
They’re Doing It Again!
The Hawks came out of nowhere to post the bet record in the Eastern Conference last year while winning 50 games for the first time in franchise history. However, many experts found that season fluky, especially was Atlanta was swept away by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. And those same experts were probably gloating when the Hawks lost here at home to the Detroit Pistons opening night, but Atlanta has won seven straight games since!
The Timberwolves have been down for so long that they are on the verge of becoming good, thanks to owning that last two number one draft picks in the NBA Draft in Andrew Wiggins last year and Karl-Anthony Towns this season. That youth could also lead to growing pains, although Minnesota did snap a two-game losing streak by being the upset winning NBA pick on the road over the Chicago Bulls 102-93 Saturday as a 9½-point underdog.
Averaging Over 105 Points During Win Streak
The Hawks were a joy to watch when they were clicking offensively last year and they are at again right now, averaging 105.3 points during the seven game winning streak and getting hotter along the way, averaging 112.0 points the last three games including putting up a season-high 121 in a road win over the Pelicans in New Orleans.
Now Atlanta has not been terrible defensively either ranking 10th in the league in points allowed, 12th in field goal percentage allowed and 11th in three-point defense. However, those ranking do represent a drop-off from last season, a direct result of losing their best defensive player in DeMarre Carroll in free agency to the Toronto Raptors. Thus the Hawks may have to continue their current scoring pace to have any chance of posting back-to-back 50-win seasons.
Martin to Return Tonight
The Timberwolves pulled the upset in Chicago Saturday without leading scorer Kevin Martin (18.8 PPG), who has been away from the team while tending to a personal family matter. He is expected back in time for this game though to give those last two number one draft-picks some offensive support.
Speaking of those youngsters, Wiggins is now averaging 17.2 points after going off for 31 in Chicago while finally rediscovering his three-point stroke after a slow start in that department this year, going 4-for-5 from downtown. And Towns sits closely behind with 15.2 points per game while leading the club in rebounds (9.6 per game), field goal percentage (47.8) and blocked shots (3.0 per game) after just five NBA games.
And even point guard Ricky Rubio (9.2 assists, 2.2 steals per game) has improved his shooting through the early going after being an offensive liability in past years, averaging 13.6 points after topping out at 10.7 points so far in his second NBA season in 2012-13.
So when the Timberwolves go small with Martin, Rubio and Wiggins on the floor at the same time with Towns in the middle, they actually have four good scorers on the floor, which was a rarity for the offensively challenged Minnesota teams of the last couple of years.
An ‘over’ Series
Finally, the ‘over’ is now 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings between these teams overall with an average combined total score on those contests of 211.3 points. The ‘over’ is also 4-1 in the last five meetings here in Atlanta in an average combined score of 209.0 points.
With the Atlanta offense in its same great form as last season and with Martin expected to add firepower to the Minnesota offense, go ‘over’ at Philips Arena on Monday.
NBA Pick: Timberwolves, Hawks ‘over’ 203 (-108)