Nets look to end skid as 3 point favorites over the Hawks
The Brooklyn Nets will be on the road tonight going up against the Atlanta Hawks as they look to avoid their third straight loss. Atlanta will also be looking to end their slide after losing its last two games. Things have been incredibly tough for the Nets recently after losing their last two games by a combined six points. The Hawks have played much worse as of late though. Their last two losses have come by a combined 27 points.
This will be the final matchup of the season between these two teams. So far, Brooklyn has dominated this season series as they currently lead the Hawks three games to none. Every game the Nets have won in this series have been decided by at least ten points. Brooklyn has beaten Atlanta by an average of 14.7 points per game. The last time they faced off, the Nets dominated the Hawks. Back on January 12th, Brooklyn led the entire game and ended up beating down Atlanta by 22 points at home. However, I view that game as an outlier since Trae Young did not play and Kyrie Irving led the Nets in points. Young will be active tonight and the Nets will be without Kyrie, who was lost this season to a shoulder injury, so this game could certainly favor the Atlanta Hawks.
Trae Young has been lights out recently. The second year Oklahoma guard has averaged a double-double in his last nine games, putting up 35.1 points as well as 10.1 assists. Young’s numbers have been even better against the Nets this season. In three matchups against Brooklyn, Trae Young has averaged 43 points per game on 50.9% shooting! On top of that, he is also averaging 5.5 rebounds and 8 assists. The Nets will have to utilize the same defensive strategy they used to contain Washington’s red hot Bradley Beal. Brooklyn ended up allowing Beal to score 30 points in the game, but that is way better than the 35.6 points he had been averaging over his last ten games. If the Nets hope to win, they will have to limit Young the same way they did with Bradley Beal.
Ever since Kyrie Irving got injured, Spencer Dinwiddie has emerged as the Nets’ best player. Dinwiddie is Brooklyn’s active leading scorer putting up 20.8 points per game so far this season. He has managed to up his game against the Hawks, increasing his average 23.3 points in three match-ups against Atlanta. The issue for the Nets has been the diminished play of Caris LeVert against the Hawks. LeVert has averaged over 16 points and and almost four rebounds and four assists per game this season. He has not been nearly as good against the Hawks though. In the one game he played against Atlanta, LeVert only managed to score 13 points while recording just one assist and two rebounds. He will definitely need to play better against the Hawks if Brooklyn wants to end their two game slide.
Atlanta’s problem against the Nets has been that their other role players have not stepped up in those games. Power Forward John Collins only scored eight points on a night where he shot 18.2% from the field. This was an abysmal outing, considering Collins is the Hawks’ second leading scorer, averaging 21 points per game this season. On top of that, first round pick De’Andre Hunter has been limited to just eight points per game in the two match-ups he has played against Brooklyn. These guys will need to turn things around tonight, and I fully expect them to.
The Nets have won three straight games against the Hawks, but I think it is nearly impossible for a middle-of-the-road team like Brooklyn to beat a competitive team like the Hawks four times in a row. I am sure John Collins and De’Andre Hunter will manage to improve their play against the Nets tonight, and that will lead to a victory for Atlanta. The Hawks will win this game outright in a highly offensive contest.