The Atlanta Hawks continue to roll without Jeff Teauge and are emerging as one of the unlikeliest Finals contenders. The win at Dallas was their 13th in 14 tries and capped a three-game run with a thirty point win over Cleveland and a pair or road wins at Houston and Dallas. There’s a lot made of the East’s inability to compete with the West (I’ve written it a ton as well, largely because it has been empirically fact for the most part), but apparently the Hawks are fashioning themselves as an exception to the rule.
The play of back-up point guard Dennis Schroeder has been a revelation, and while I still contend Teague is an Eastern Conference All-Star, it now appears the Hawks have an embarrassment of riches in a place most people completely overlooked.
Today’s is the last day of NBA games before Christmas Day as the league gives its players a nice night off for Christmas Eve. We’ve won two in a row and seven of our last eight ATS in the NBA, so let’s try to put one more present in the pre-Christmas stocking tonight.
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Today’s Free Pick:
New Orleans Pelicans -1 at Indiana Pacers (Total: 193.5)
These two teams have both been relatively good against the spread. The Pels are 15-12 ATS while the Pacers are a surprising 15-11-1. They haven’t won a lot of games but Frank Vogel has the worst starting five in the NBA competing hard and playing with good effort and intensity. They aren’t a playoff team, but they are getting much better results than any team relying on Donald Sloan, Chris Copeland, CJ Miles and AJ Price ought to get.
They will have their hands full tonight with Anthony Davis and the visiting Pelicans. The Pels currently sit eighth in the West and have won three of their last four road games, all against the Western Conference. They are rested after having last night off, though they are playing their third game in four nights.
Indiana has wins over the T’Wolves and Lakers, but are otherwise winless in their last ten games. This isn’t a roster that has any business beating playoff teams and although they have jumped up a surprised a few teams this season I don’t think that’s something you can reasonable expect on a given night.
The Pelicans shoot more than 4% better from the floor and routinely break triple-digits while Indiana struggles to score their meager 93 points per night. In the end, I don’t think Indiana can score enough points to beat them. I’ll take the Pelicans on the road tonight.