#505 Atlanta Hawksvs.#506 Brooklyn Nets
Tuesday, January 1 2017, at 7:35pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala
Atlanta Hawks (21-16 SU, 19-18 ATS, 14-22-1 O/U) vs. Brooklyn Nets (8-28 SU, 18-16-2 ATS, 20-15-1 O/U)
NBA: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, 7:30 pm ET
Line: Atlanta -7; Over/Under: 214
It’s an Eastern Conference tilt between two teams heading in vastly different directions. The Atlanta Hawks bring their hot streak to the Big Apple as they face the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night. Atlanta won its sixth in a row by knocking off the Mavericks 97-82 on the road Saturday night. Brooklyn lost their sixth in a row with a 105-95 loss to the 76ers at home Sunday afternoon. Atlanta holds a solid 97-70 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams, including seven of the last eight matchups. Brooklyn prevailed in the last meeting here, winning 90-88 on November 17, 2015.
Atlanta had their struggles but managed to put away Dallas and pick up the victory their last time out. The Hawks led by three at the half and by just seven after three quarters before putting the game away in the closing minutes. Atlanta shot just 40.5 percent from the floor overall but knocked down 11 of their 22 three point attempts. In addition, the Hawks drained 26 of 32 free throw attempts in the game. The free throw shooting was important as Atlanta had a distinct advantage at the stripe as Dallas was just 9 of 10. The Hawks held the Mavericks to 39 percent shooting in the game and 9 of 36 from beyond the arc. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 22 points off the bench to lead Atlanta in the win.
The Hawks are 20th in the league in scoring offense with 102.3 points per game this season. Atlanta is 13th in the league in rebounding (44.2 rpg) and 6th with 23.9 assists per contest. The Hawks are 9th in the NBA in scoring defense as they allow 102.8 points per game. Paul Millsap is leading the team with 17.7 points plus 8.2 boards and 3.8 assists per game. Dennis Schroder puts up 17.7 points plus 6.2 dimes a night at the point. Kent Bazemore (9.9 points), Tim Hardaway Jr. (11.7 points) and Dwight Howard (14 points, 13.3 boards, 1.33 rejections) are all solid scoring options this season. Mike Muscala, Thabo Sefolosha, Kris Humphries and Taurean Prince provide depth and secondary scoring. The Hawks are 13th in the league by shooting 45.4 percent from the floor as a team. Atlanta is tied for 20th in the league with 8.8 made three pointers a night and 26th in three point shooting as the team hits a paltry 34 percent from beyond the arc.
So this is what a $365 million price tag from six years ago gets you: the basement of the entire NBA. The Nets were valued at $1.7 billion last year but if valuation was based on on-court performance, you might get a hot three bucks for them. Brooklyn is in the basement and fell 2.5 games behind normal league whipping boy Philadelphia by losing to the 76ers, at home no less. The Nets led by 11 at the half but were outscored 32-16 in the third quarter and 27-22 in the fourth to take the loss. Brooklyn shot 46.2 percent from the floor and 10 of 27 from beyond the arc but it didn’t matter. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 26 points in the loss.
The Nets are 15th in the league in scoring offense with 105.4 points per game. Brooklyn is 14th in the league on the glass by collecting 44.2 rebounds per game. The Nets are 23rd in the league in assists with 20.8 dimes per contest. Brooklyn is last in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114 points a game. Brook Lopez is good for a team leading 20.1 points a night while Sean Kilpatrick chips in 14.8 points per game from the backcourt. Bojan Bogdanovic kicks in 14 points plus 3.2 boards per game while Jeremy Lin averages 13.9 points and 5.8 assists per contest. Lin is out again after suffering his second hamstring injury of the season. Joe Harris (8.6 points), Trevor Booker (10 points, nine rebounds), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Luis Scola and Justin Hamilton are key pieces in the rotation as well. Rookie Isaiah Whitehead has gotten a good chunk of minutes at point guard for Brooklyn. The Nets are tied for 22nd in the league by shooting 44.1 percent from the floor. Brooklyn is 5th by sinking 11 triples per contest. The Nets are tied for 27th in the league in three point shooting as they shoot 33.8 percent from long range.
The Nets are a team in complete disarray, as they have just four wins in their last 27 games. To fall behind Philadelphia and Dallas in the standings speaks volumes. Brooklyn waived former #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett Monday, which makes one wonder which is worse: the Nets, for getting rid of a young #1, or Bennett, for being dumped by the league’s worst team. Where do you go from there? Atlanta is rolling right now and the Nets are dive bombing. Give the points as Atlanta wins by double figures.
One thing we’ve seen lately as the Hawks have gotten hot again is a renewed commitment to playing solid team defense. It’s paid off as only the Spurs cracked the century mark during this six game win streak. The Nets are a run and gun team that likes to score and get scored on (repeatedly) but the Hawks have stifled teams like that lately. Brooklyn has been decent on defense at times this season but they can’t put together solid performances on both ends in the same game.
The under has come up in Atlanta’s last four against teams with a losing record and in each of their last four against teams with a winning percentage below .400 on the year. The under is also 4-0-1 in Atlanta’s last five on the road and 6-2-1 in their last nine overall. Brooklyn has been an under machine lately as well, with it going 5-0-1 in their last six on one day of rest and 4-0 in their last four against teams with a winning record. Given Atlanta’s focus on defense, the Nets’ inability to do much and the trends, the under seems the way to look here.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.