The NBA is set up with another great night of action throughout February 26. Nine games are up on the board throughout Friday night. One of these matchups will be between the Atlanta Hawks and the Oklahoma City Thunder. These two teams have had tough starts to this season, but will look for a win in this one. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Hawks have started out this season with a record of 14-18, which has them sitting in eleventh place of the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has picked up their play as of late, winning three of their last five games. The Hawks will look to carry momentum over into this one. I expect Atlanta to come out quickly in this one as they look for the win on Friday night.
Oklahoma City has put up a record of 13-19 to this point in the season, which has them in twelfth place of the Western Conference. The Thunder are coming into this one off a win in their last game, but have lost four of their last six. Oklahoma City will look to build off their last win in this one. I expect the Thunder to try and set the pace early at home.
These two teams are sitting outside of the playoff picture so far this season, but there is plenty of time to turn it around. Atlanta is only a game back from the tenth seed, which will play in a play-in tournament at the end the season. I expect the Hawks to try and come out quickly in this one as they look to jump back into the playoff race.
The Hawks and the Thunder met up once last season. Oklahoma City hosted the game on January 24. Trae Young finished with 26 points and 16 assists, while John Collins scored 28 points. It was not enough though. Danilo Gallinari dropped 25 points, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points. Dennis Schroder scored 21 points off the bench as the Thunder dominated for a 140-111 win.
Atlanta’s last game was against the Boston Celtics on February 24. Jaylen Brown finished with 17 points and Jeff Teague added 14 points. It was not nearly enough though. Danilo Gallinari finished with 38 points off the bench, while Trae Young scored 33 points on the night. The Hawks were able to hold on for a 127-112 win on the night.
Oklahoma City hosted the San Antonio Spurs on February 24. Dejounte Murray scored 27 points and 9 rebounds. Patty Mills added 15 points off the bench, but it was not enough. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 42 points and 8 rebounds, while Luguentz Dort and Al Horford both had 16 points. The Thunder were able to win 102-99 at the buzzer.
The Thunder have won three straight games against Atlanta at home and four of their last five games against the Hawks. Oklahoma City will look to build off their win at the buzzer in this one. The Thunder are in a rebuild right now though and Atlanta needs to take advantage of games like this if they want to get back into the playoff race.
Field Goal Shooting
The Hawks have not been great shooting the ball so far this season. Atlanta have been able to make around 45.5 percent of their shots from the field, which is 20th in the league. The Hawks are shooting 36.4 percent from behind the arc, which is 16th in the NBA. Atlanta has drained 82.1 percent of their shots from the free throw line, which is 4th in the league.
Oklahoma City has not been any better shooting to this point in the season. The Thunder have shot 44.8 percent from the field, which is 24th in the NBA. Oklahoma City has made 44.8 percent from deep so far this season, which is 27th in the league. The Thunder have been able to make 73.7 percent of their shots from the charity stripe, which is 26th in the NBA.
Atlanta has a clear edge shooting the ball to this point in the season. Both teams are pretty solid on defense though this season. The Hawks have held their opponents to a 46.3 percent shooting percentage from the field, which is 13th in the league. Oklahoma City has allowed opposing teams to make 46.1 percent of their shots, which is 12th in the NBA. Both teams will look to step up on defense in this one.
Trae Young has been the clear leader for this young Atlanta team. Young is averaging 27 points and 9.5 assists per game. John Collins has averaged 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Clint Capela is averaging 14.5 points and 14 rebounds, while Kevin Huerter and Danlio Gallinari are both averaging 12 points per game.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has helped lead the Thunder so far this season. SGA has averaged 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. Al Horford is averaging 14.5 points and 7 rebounds. Luguentz Dort has averaged 12.5 points per game. Darius Bazley helps round out this lineup, averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
These two teams have been led by their young Point Guard so far this season. The Hawks are likely without Cam Reddish in this one, while Oklahoma City will likely be without Hamidou Diallo. Both teams will look for some players to step up in their place. The Hawks depth has been a bit stronger this season and they will look to step up in this one.
The Thunder are coming off a huge win on Tuesday night and will look to carry that momentum over into this one. Both of these teams have been up and down throughout this season. Atlanta is coming in looking to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. I think the Hawks will use that as motivation to take this one.
BetOnline has Atlanta listed as a -3 against the spread in this one. This gives a slight edge to the Hawks on Friday night. I think that this line makes sense as Atlanta has the better overall team. If Atlanta can come out strong in this one, I think that they can take over on Friday. I really like the value on the Hawks in this one.