The NBA Playoffs continue on Sunday and I will have a free pick in the game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks, which will take place at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The game has a start time of 5:30 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on TNT. Current Vegas betting odds have the Hawks listed as 10 point favorites, while the total is set at 201.5.
Analysis: The Brooklyn Nets did not play well down the stretch as they had won just 3 of their last 7 games, but they got it done when it counted on the last day of the season, by beating the Orlando Magic to grab the 8th spot in the East. The Nets are one of 2 teams in the playoffs that had a losing record as they come in having gone 38-44 overall, which includes a mark of 19-22 on the road. Brooklyn has gone 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, but just 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games following a SU win of more than 10 points and 9-21 ATS in their last 30 vs the Southeast Division. The Nets have not been a good offensive team this year, ranking 21st in scoring (98.0 ppg), 16th in shooting, 26th in 3 point shooting and 20th in FT shooting. Defensively the Nets have been rather average this year, ranking 18th in points allowed (100.9 ppg), 22nd in defensive FG% and 23rd in 3 point defense.
The Atlanta Hawks are the top seed in the East and they won the Southeast division by 14 games over Washington with a 60-22 record overall, that includes a 35-6 mark. This is a good team, but they are limping a bit heading into the playoffs as they have lost their last 3 games. Atlanta has gone 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 31-14-1 ATS in their last 46 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game, but the Host is just 1-5 ATS the last 6 in the series. The Hawks have be a solid offensive team this year, ranking 10th in scoring (102.5 ppg), 4th in shooting, 2nd in 3 point shooting and 5th in FT shooting. Defensively the Hawks have been very good this year, ranking 5th in points allowed (97.1 ppg), 6th in defensive FG% and 7th in 3 point defense.
Pick: I will be going with the Hawks to cover the big number here. This is a team that really slept walked down the stretch of this season, but I feel that they will be ready for the Post season The Nets also didn't play well down the stretch but they did just enough at the right time to make it into the playoffs. This is not a good team and their under .500 record proves that. The Nets lost all 4 games to the Hawks this year and 3 of them were by 9 points or more. The two games played in Atlanta this year were losses of 32 and 9, while their first meeting between the team was by 17 points. Late in the year when the Hawks were on cruise control, they beat the Nets by just 3. No cruise control here as the Hawks win this one very easy over a Nets team that was lucky to get in the playoffs.
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