Saturday NBA Playoff action and I will have a free pick in game 3 between the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets, which will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The game has a start time of 3:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on TNT. Current Vegas betting odds have the Hawks listed as 2.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 201.
Analysis: The Atlanta Hawks are the top seed in the East but they have had a few issues with the 8th place Nets so far. The Hawks did win both games at home, but they failed to cover both and really had to fend off the Nets late in games. That's out of character from a team that went 50-30-2 ATS during the regular season. Atlanta has gone 25-16 on the road. The Hawks have gone 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Brooklyn, but just 13-30 ATS in their last 43 games playing on 2 days rest and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games vs the Atlantic Division. The Hawks scored 101.6 ppg on 45.6% shooting overall and 37.8% shooting from long range on the road this year. Defensively they allowed 99.2 ppg on 44.1% shooting overall and 35% shooting from long range away from home this year.
The Brooklyn Nets did not play well down the stretch as they had won just 3 of their last 7 games during the regular season, but they got it done when it counted on the last day of the season, to grab the final playoff spot in the East. The Nets have not played like an 8 seed as they have really pushed the Hawks in the first 2 games. Brooklyn went just 19-22 at home this year. The Nets are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, but just 7-17-1 ATS in their last 25 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600, while the host is 1-7 ATS the last 8 in the series. Brooklyn averaged 99 ppg on 44.9% shooting overall and 33.3% shooting from long range at home for the year. Defensively, at home, they allowed 101.3 ppg on 45.8% shooting overall and 36% shooting from long range.
Pick: Both of the first tow games have been low scoring and I will look for this one to follow suit. The Hawks have really stymied this Nets offense in the post season, but the Nets have done the same to the Hawks. The Nets have now averaged just 88.6 pg in their last 5 games, while the Hawks have allowed just 98.8 ppg in their last 5 games. Atlanta has averaged just 93.3 ppg in their last 3 games and the Nets have played solid defense of late as they have allowed just 98.4 ppg in their last 5 games. I see the low scoring games continuing in this series.
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