Atlanta Hawks (48-26 SU 44-31 ATS) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (59-16 SU 37-37-1 ATS) Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH 8 PM EST Friday April 2, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Hawks +5.5 / Cavaliers -5.5
Tonight in an important Eastern Conference game, well at least for one team, the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Atlanta Hawks. The game is important only for the Hawks, as they are in 3rd place in the East 1 game head of Boston and want to stay in 3rd so they do not have to play the Cavs in a possible 2nd round playoff match up.
Not only is this game important for the Hawks because of the standings, but also if they beat the Cavs at home it will give them a ton of confidence heading into the post-season.
The Cavaliers have already snagged the top seed in the East and they have owned the Hawks recently, as they have won 8 straight over Atlanta.
Cleveland has won 2 straight and are 9-1 in their last 10 games and Atlanta has also won 2 in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
This season the Cavs are a NBA best 33-4 at home and the Hawks are 17-19 on the road.
The Hawks have struggled away from Atlanta this season, as they are not only 2 games under .500 on the road, but have lost their last 3 and 5 of their last 7.
Antawn Jamison (19 ppg 8.3 rpg) came to the Cavs in a mid-season trade and this will be his first game facing the Hawks in a Cleveland uniform. When he was with the Washington Wizards he averaged 23.2 ppg and 12.7 rpg in his last 9 games against the Hawks.
The Hawks cannot only key on LeBron James (29.7 ppg), but also Jamison and Mo Williams (15.4 ppg), as King James will score and if Atlanta can keep the other Cavs’ players from scoring big they have a good chance to win this game.
The Cavs are a better rebounding team, but they will be without 6th man and 2nd leading rebounder Anderson Varejao (8.7 ppg 7.8 rpg), who is out for the game with an injured hamstring.
The Hawks looked impressive in their last game on Wednesday night beating the L.A. Lakers 109-92. The high scorer for Atlanta in the game was Joe Johnson going for 25 points on 10/20 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot lights out shooting 45/83 from the field for a FG% of 54.2%. On defense the Hawks allowed the Lakers to shoot 33/72 for a FG% of 45.8%.
The Cavs also won on Wednesday night beating the Milwaukee Bucks 101-98. No big shock that LeBron James was the high scorer for Cleveland in the game going for 23 points on 7/17 shooting and he also grabbed 9 boards and had 7 assists. For the game the Cavs shot 34/73 for a FG% of 46.6%. On D the Cavs allowed the Bucks to shoot 41/90 for a FG% of 46.6%.
Both teams are tied for 8th in the league in scoring (102.1 ppg). On defense the Cavs rank 4th in opponents’ points allowed (94.8 ppg) and the Hawks rank 11th (97.4 ppg). The Cavs have been a much better team on the glass this season with a rebounding differential of +4.0 rpg while the Hawks are at -0.1 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Cavs rank 1st 97.16) and the Hawks rank 6th (94.00).
Atlanta is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog, and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road underdog of 5.0-10.5.
Atlanta has an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 road games and an Over record of 5-0 in their last 5 road games as an underdog.
Cleveland is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games against teams with a losing road record.
Cleveland has an Under record of 5-2 in their last 7 games and an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 home games against teams with a losing road record.
On the injury front PF Anderson Varejao is day-to-day and C Shaquille O’Neal is Out for Cleveland while Atlanta is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: Even though the Cavs have already wrapped up the #1 seed in the playoffs I don’t think they will let down. Even Antawn Jamison stated, “”We don’t want to take games off or get relaxed. We know we have to stay focused and stay aggressive. We have to keep that edge.” The Cavs have pretty much dominated this series recently. If you were to base tonight’s spread on the past 7 games between these two teams, Cleveland would have covered to the tune of 6-1! The Cavs will keep that edge tonight and continue their dominance of the Hawks, as they will win this game and cover the spread.