NBA analyst Ross Benjamin previews the NBA playoff series between Atlanta and Washington. Go inside to read his prospective on this matchup and why he recommends the Wizards.
Southeast Division rivals Washington and Atlanta will meet in a Best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series set to begin on Easter Sunday. Washington (49-33) is the Eastern Conference No. 4 seed and will have home-court advantage No. 5 Atlanta (43-39). A consensus of current NBA betting odds indicate that Washington is -235 and Atlanta +195 to win this series.
Head-To-Head Regular-Season Matchups
These teams have met 4 times during regular-season action and Washington won 3. As a matter of fact, the Wizards have defeated the Hawks 3 straight times and each of those contests stayed 'under' the total. During those victories, Washington held Atlanta to 92.7 points scored per game, 38.1% shooting and the Hawks made only 27.2% of their 3-point attempts. Although it must be noted, despite Washington winning both games at home against Atlanta they were by slim margins of 3 and 4 points.
Atlanta was 2nd in the Southeast Division and ended 6.0 games behind Washington. The Hawks were a respectable 20-21 on the road and a less than inspiring 23-18 at home. However, they were just 2-7 over their last 9 road games. If the Hawks are going to pull off an upset in this series, they’re going to need center Dwight Howard (13.5 PPG/12.7 RPG) to be a huge inside force. Atlanta is a below-average offensive team statistically but has been very good on the defensive end. The Hawks have held opponents to 44.4% shooting this season and that’s good for fifth-best in the NBA.
Strong Home Court For Wizards
Washington finished the regular season by going a superb 25-5 during its last 30 home games. During that stretch, the Wizards put together a 17-game win streak at the Verizon Center.
Final Take & Pick
I believe that Washington’s dynamic guard tandem of John Wall (23.1 PPG/10.7 APG) and Bradley Beal (23.1 PPG) will be the deciding difference in this series. Washington will be very difficult to beat at the Verizon Center, and it will able to win at least 1 on the road against an opponent that’s average at best on its home floor. One of my free NBA picks calls for the Wizards to advance.Free NBA Pick: Wizards In 6Best Line Offered: BetOnline