Last night the Clippers pushed their win streak to 10 games to push us to 5-2 ATS in our last seven NBA games. Tonight, we will try to keep the good run going with another road favorite.
Atlanta Hawks -6.5 at Washington Wizards (Total: 187.5)
These teams have already played twice this season, and in truth, Washington has played fairly well against the more talented Hawks. The first meeting was the closest, as the Wizards pushed them to overtime before capitulating by a single point. The second meeting the margin widened to nine. I think there is a trend evolving in this matchup – the gap between the Wizards and Hawks is widening every week.
Atlanta struggled a bit in the early season adapting to life without their go-to scorer, Joe Johnson. They weren’t quite sure where they were going to generate offense or where to go with the ball in big situations. That has calmed down over the past few weeks with the emergence of Josh Smith as the go-to scorer on the wing and Al Horford as their rock in the post. Add in the scoring punch of Louis Williams (13.2 ppg) and the steady play of point guard Jeff Teague (13.1 ppg, 6.3 assists) and you have the making a nicely balanced team that can get points from multiple sources. They remind me a lot of last year’s Indiana Pacers who pushed the Heat to the brink in the Conference Semis.
Atlanta has won 8 of their last 11 games, including Memphis, Denver and the Clippers. Their losses have been mostly reasonable (Golden State, Miami) with Cleveland being the lone exception. The point? They have handled their business against lesser foes, of which the Wizards certainly are.
Atlanta has won five in a row and nine of ten overall in this matchup. The Wizards best hope is that Atlanta sleepwalks into DC and overlooks them, ala the Miami Heat several weeks ago. IN a way, that Heat wake-up call might work against the Wizards, as you can imagine that will be the mantra before every opponent takes in the floor the rest of the season, “don’t overlook this team. They just beat the defending NBA Champs…”
I like Atlanta to handle their business on the road tonight. They have played well on the road this season (6-3) and very quietly have amassed one of the best records in the league at 14-7. Just like last night, I’d prefer not to lay more than five or six on the road, but tonight I think it is once against well justified.
Free Pick: Atlanta Hawks -6.5