Dallas Mavericks +5.5 (41-27) at Atlanta Hawks -5.5 (40-28) O/U 196.5 7 PM Thursday March 19, 2009
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Tonight the Dallas Mavericks head east to take on the Atlanta Hawks. Both of these teams will probably make the post season, but each want to finish the season strong to improve their playoff positioning. The Hawks are currently in the 4th position in the East and have a pretty comfortable 4 game lead over the 5th place Miami Heat and it does not look as if they will give the number 4 seed up the way they are playing, as they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have won 6 in a row.
The Western Conference is a little different, as the Mavs are in the 8th position, 4 games ahead of the Suns, but they only trail the Houston Rockets by 3 games for the 3rd position. The Mavs are coming off a win and have won 6 of their last 10 games. The Hawks have the 2nd best home record in the East and the Mavs can get a ton of confidence if they can win in Atlanta tonight over the red hot Hawks.
This season the Hawks are 26-7 at home and the Mavs are 3 games under .500 at 16-19 in road games.
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The Hawks are posted at -220 as home favorites and the Mavs are posted at +180 as road dogs.
The Hawks come into this game after crushing the Sacramento Kings 119-97 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Hawks in that game was Al Horford going for 23 points on 9/13 shooting including grabbing 12 boards. For the game the Hawks could not miss shooting 46/86 for a scorching FG% of 55.8%. On D the Hawks held the Kings to 31/79 for a FG% of 39.2%.
The Mavs come into this game after beating the Detroit Pistons 103-101 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Mavs in that game was Dirk Nowitzki going for 30 points on 12/20 shooting. For the game the Mavs were on fire shooting 38/67 for a FG% of 56.7%. On D the Mavs held the Pistons to 39/82 for a FG% of 42.4%.
This season the Mavs rank 9th in scoring (101.4 ppg) and the Hawks rank 20th (98.4 ppg). On defense the Hawks rank 10th in points allowed (96.4 ppg) and the Mavs rank 15th (100 ppg). The Mavs are a better team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +0.9 rpg and the Hawks are at -1.9 rpg.
This season the Hawks are 38-30 ATS and the Mavs are 33-35. In terms of Over/Under games the Hawks are 30-37-1 this season and the Mavs are 33-34-1.
On the injury front SF Josh Howard is day-to-day for the Hawks and the Mavs are reporting no significant injuries.
The Hawks can finish off a perfect home stand with a win tonight.
The Mavs do not have the best interior defense and they will have their hands full tonight with Hawks C Al Horford (11.7 ppg 9.1 rpg), who has 4 double-doubles on this home stand and 16 for the season. Erick Dampier has to hold the fort down low and not allow Horford to dominate the paint.
Horford also has to hit the boards hard tonight, as he is the only real rebounder the Hawks have, which is the main reason the team has a negative rebounding differential. They cannot allow the Mavs to have many 2nd chance scoring opportunities.
The PG match up in this game is key with Jason Kidd (9.3 ppg) and Mike Bibby (14.9 ppg). Each will have to play good D on each other and not allow penetration.
The Hawks will have to contain Dirk Nowitzki (25.5 ppg), as he is the focal point of the Mavs offense. If the Hawks can keep him from having a monster game they will be in good shape.
The starting 5 for the Hawks have to have a good game, especially Joe Johnson (21.6 ppg) and Josh Smith (15.3 ppg), as the Hawks have one of the better starting 5’s in the league, but their bench is thin.
Jason’s Pick: As a surprise to many, the Hawks are an EXCELLENT home team. Look for them to beat Dallas by double digits tonight.