Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction: Steph Curry, Warriors Stay Hot
Atlanta Hawks vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction
Remember all those takes about the Hawks winding up as the third best team in the East this season? After three weeks of the NBA season, they seem like an awfully long time ago.
The Hawks are currently riding a streak of five losses in six games. All five drops have come against quality teams – the Wizards, Sixers, Nets, Jazz and Suns, with four coming on the road – so perhaps it’s not quite time to throw dirt on their grave just yet. They also certainly aren’t the only East team struggling out of the gate, with the defending champion Bucks and presumptive playoff participant Celtics joining them in the four-win club. Things certainly have time to rebound, and the Hawks, who started last season 11-16 before making a conference finals run, know that better than anyone.
But in the immediate future, things look to get worse before they get better. Atlanta is losing many of these games in convincing fashion, with only one cover in their last seven contests. They have the league’s 21st ranked net rating, with a 26th rated defense serving as the real culprit. As Trae Young recently said following a loss, the team just isn’t treating these games with the same respect as they did those in their postseason run. It’s showing.
Now they head into the belly of the beast, facing a Warriors squad in a building where Golden State is outscoring teams by 15.3 points per 100 possessions. Steph & Co., despite Curry still not really getting going this year, had won and covered three straight before a 13-point win against Houston last night gave them a push on the spread.
They won’t have to deal with nearly as high of a number tonight. This margin is tiny, at least in light of how both teams have been playing. Perhaps it’s because the Warriors are playing on the second night of a back to back, but both games are home. It’s their first time playing two games in two nights this season, and they were only 6-9 in such situations last year.
But this team is far better than that one, and the league as a whole is 21-19-1 against the spread with no rest this year.
Don’t let it sway you from the easy decision.
Hawks vs. Warriors Pick
New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Knicks vs. 76ers Prediction
Another day, another guessing game of “who are the Knicks?”
Yesterday I picked against last year’s best team against the spread for the first time this season, and that’s because we’d finally gotten enough proof: this team is not cut from the same cloth as the “We Here” edition that had New Yorkers going bonkers not long ago.
The 2021-22 Knicks have more talent, but are still figuring out how to mesh that talent with their ethos as an organization in the Thibodeau era. They’re still scoring at a high clip – fourth in the NBA by a solid margin – but their defense has plummeted all the way to fourth worst following Sunday’s beat down at the hands of the red hot Cavs. After every loss, we hear the same things about needing to bring a consistent effort on defense.
One common thread: they play up or down to their opponents. The Cleveland game was the fourth time in a row they’ve lost outright when they were favored by at least 7.5 points. They won’t have any such issues today, facing a Sixers tam that hasn’t lost in two weeks. They sport the best offense in the NBA over that time, and even with several missing pieces, they are hitting shots with regularity.
Their last loss, of course, came at the hands of these Knicks. That game was in MSG, whereas this one is in Philly. New York also played last night, so all the signs point to a Sixer win.
That may come to pass, but Team Jekyll & Hyde won’t go down without a fight against an opponent they’ll be up for. You’d ideally like this spread to be another point or two, but it’s enough to support the dog if you think this one will come down to the wire.
It will. Go with the Knicks.