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Atlanta Hawks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA: Friday, January 24, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 8:00 PM ET
After a surprising home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, the Atlanta Hawks will hit the road to meet the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. While the Hawks are the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Thunder are No. 7 seed in the West and will look for their fourth straight victory when they welcome Atlanta.
These two interconference foes will meet for the first time this season. They split the last season’s series, as each team won on the home court, while the Thunder have won nine of their previous 13 encounters with the Hawks.
The Hawks upset the Clippers despite playing without Trae YoungAlthough Trae Young was sidelined due to a thigh injury, the Hawks beat the Clippers 102-95 as 4.5-point home underdogs this past Wednesday. They rallied from a 21-point deficit to upset the Clippers who were quite shorthanded playing without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Hawks allowed only 35 points in the second half and limited the Clippers to 42.3% shooting from the field and 19.0% from beyond the arc. John Collins had a big night, posting a double-double of 33 points and 16 rebounds, while Brandon Goodwin added 19 points off the bench, scoring all of his points in the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, when I first got in there, I wasn't doing much," Goodwin said. "When that first 3 fell, I was kind of relieved. I started to hit my shots."
Trae Young (29.2 PPG, 8.6 APG) is the Hawks’ best player this season, no doubt, but he’s listed as questionable for Friday’s clash against the Thunder. Jabari Parker (15.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG) is also injured, so John Collins (18.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG) will have to step up once more if Young remains on the sidelines. The Hawks are still the worst offensive team in the league with just 103.6 points scored per 100 possessions, while they make just 44.1% of their field goals (23rd in the league) and 32.3% of their 3-pointers (30th). On the other side, the Hawks surrender 112.6 points per 100 possessions (23rd) on 47.2% shooting from the field (25th).
The Thunder’s furious offense helped them beat the MagicOklahoma City is coming off a 120-114 road victory over the Orlando Magic this past Wednesday. Although the Magic are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Thunder shot ridiculous 60.5% from the field and 47.4% from beyond the 3-point line. Dennis Schroder led the way for Oklahoma City, accounting for 31 points and nine assists off the bench. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander double-doubled with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Paul added 19 points and six dimes.
"It's hard to win on the road. I think we lost our first six road games," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "I think some of that had to do with the fact these guys hadn't played together. It's really, really hard the first 8-10 games to be this great team. ... I've seen incredible growth from where we were and it was really nothing more than they needed to play with each other."
The Thunder are one of the most pleasant surprises of the season, sitting at the seventh spot of the Western Conference standings. They are five games ahead of the eighth-seeded San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder score 110.5 points per 100 possessions (12th in the league) on 46.9% shooting from the field (8th) and 34.7% from downtown (20th). They allow 108.7 points in a return (14th) on 45.7% shooting from the field (16th) and 34.7% from beyond the arc (13th). Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the way for OKC, averaging 19.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while Dennis Schroder adds 18.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per contests, always coming off the bench.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: Atlanta:
- 3-8 ATS in the last 11 games on the road
- 2-5 ATS in the last seven road games against the Northwest Division
- 12-3 ATS in the last 15 games overall
- 6-2 ATS in the last eight games against the Eastern Conference
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
If Trae Young remains sidelined, the Hawks will be in big trouble. The Thunder’s defense is not an elite one, but they play smart and will know how to take advantage of Young’s eventual absence. Howsoever, the Thunder have been playing in a good form for a while, so I expect them to dominate the Hawks even if Young suits up. OKC executes offensively very well and should continue with a strong performance against the Hawks’ defense that struggles to slow down anybody. Therefore, give me the hosts and points. The Thunder have covered in 12 of their previous 15 games overall.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder -10.5 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
While the Thunder average only 98.6 possessions per 48 minutes (23rd in the NBA), the Hawks play at the fourth-fastest pace in the league, tallying 103.2 possessions per 48 minutes. I think the Thunder won’t try to slow down the tempo. Considering the Hawks’ fragile defense and poor offensive execution, the Thunder will have a chance to push the ball in transition and score a lot of easy baskets. I don’t think they will have a terrific shooting night as they had in Orlando, but I expect to see a proper high-scoring affair on Friday night. Give me the over on the totals. Interestingly, the over is 8-0 in the Hawks’ last eight encounters with the Northwest Division.
Prediction: Over 225.5 points (-110)