Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns
Time: 8 PM CT (NBA League Pass)
Spread: ATL -11.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Atlanta Hawks are still trying to recapture what it had during its 60 win season a year ago. At 26-18 the Hawks may not find much of a challenge tonight in the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns are just 13-31 and 9-13 at home, where it will host the Hawks. Atlanta is 11.5 point favorites in the game according to NBA oddsmakers.
It will air at 8 Central on NBA League pass.
Atlanta did have a three-game win streak prior to its 91-88 loss to the Sacramento Kings last game. The Hawks shot just 41.7 percent from the floor and 8 of 33 from three-point range, with no Hawks having anything resembling a standout game. Dennis Schroder scored 12 off the bench, while Paul Millsap led all Hawks with just 14 points.
This is an Atlanta team that averages 102.3 points per game, and holds opponents to an average of 99.9. In Atlanta’s defense, Sacramento has been playing great ball, and even though the Kings shot just 35 percent from the floor as a team, its defense has keyed the turnaround. The Hawks know a thing or two about defense too, though, and have held all of its past four opponents under 100 points and two under 90.
Atlanta is certainly glad it spent the money over the summer to re-sign forward Paul Millsap. The All-Star leads the Hawks in scoring (18.4 points) and rebounding (8.8) while posting a team high PER of 23.7. The Hawks are still a deadly and efficient team, and once the threes start falling at a higher clip, this team will take flight.
Atlanta is shooting just 32.2 percent from three as a team this season, but it has so many gunners involved in that. The Hawks have five players averaging a three or more per game, led by Kyle Korver’s 1.8 per game. Korver, by his standards, is struggling: just 42.3 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from three-point range.
The Hawks still have one of the most solid and flawless rotations, but it is taking time to gather steam this season. In the backcourt Jeff Teague is an understated dominant, and he is averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per game.
Schroeder is one of the best backup 1s in the league, with 10.6 points and 4.7 assist off the bench. The Hawks are fairly loaded in the frontcourt, and having Thabo Sefolosha back in top form helps fill the void left by starter DeMarre Carroll who signed with Toronto over the offseason.
All in all, this Hawks team is just too solid and too well coached to finish the season embroiled in the mediocrity it has seen thus far. The Hawks will make a second half run in attempt to seal up the No. 2 spot in the East with the privilege of avoiding any Cavs matchup until the Conference Finals.
The Suns come in on a six-game skid that has seen the team fall to: The Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana (again) and San Antonio Spurs. The most recent was a trouncing at the hands of the Spurs as Phoenix fell 117-89.
The Suns starting backcourts of Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker had a strong showing with 44 combined points, but the team is clearly lacking without Brandon Knight (left hip) and Eric Bledsoe, who is out for the season. Bledsoe had knee surgery and that is he focused on taking his time in recovery so he can “come back and dominate.”
That is casted in doubt as he has now sustained major knee injuries to both knees, making the Suns star damaged goods while Phoenix has little chance of getting back on track this season. Bledsoe impacts a game in so many ways, and there is no filling that void with reserves on this Suns’ roster.