Orlando Magic (11-4 9-6 ATS) vs. Atlanta Hawks (11-3 11-3 ATS) Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 8 PM EST Thursday November 26, 2009 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Orlando +3.5/Atlanta -3.5
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We should all be thankful for such a good game on Turkey Day with the Atlanta Hawks hosting the Orlando Magic. The Hawks have been awesome this season and even though they are coming off a loss they still have the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are in 1st place in the Southeast Division and the Magic are right behind them in 2nd place only game back. Basically, that means that the winner of this big early-season game will be in 1st place in the division.
The Hawks are the only team that has not lost at home this season (7-0) in the East, but that perfect record will be in jeopardy tonight, especially if floor general PG Mike Bibby can’t go. If the Hawks can win this game it may make other teams in the East take notice, as the conference may not just be a 3-team race between the Magic, Cavaliers, and Celtics.
This season the Hawks are 7-0 at home and the Magic are 5-2 on the road.
In their last game the Magic lost to the Miami Heat 99-98 on a last second put back by Michael Beasley. The high scorer for the Magic in this game was PG Jason Williams going for 25 points on 9/12 shooting including hitting 4 of his 6 3-point bombs. For the game the Magic shot 32/77 for a FG% of 41.6%. Even though they lost the Magic played solid defense holding the Heat to 33/85 from the floor for a FG% of only 38.8%.
The Hawks have had a long break, for NBA standards, as they have not played since they lost to the New Orleans Hornets 96-88 on Saturday night. The high scorer for the Hawks in this game was reserve Jamal Crawford going for 20 points on 8/21 shooting. For the game the Hawks were cold as ice shooting only 35/94 for a FG% of 37.2%. On D the Hawks allowed the Hornets to shoot 37/85 for a FG% of 43.5%.
This season the Hawks rank 5th in scoring (105.5 ppg) and the Magic rank 16th (99.3 ppg). On defense the Magic are legit this season ranking 4th in points allowed (94 ppg) and the Hawks ranks 15th (98.9 ppg). Even though the Magic have Dwight Howard, the Hawks have a better rebounding team with a rebounding differential of +2.9 rpg while the Magic are only at +0.2 rpg.
On the injury front C Adonal Foyle and PG Jameer Nelson are Out for the Magic and PG Mike Bibby is day to day for the Hawks.
Mike Bibby (9.9 ppg) will be a game time decision for this game and the Hawks really need him, as they struggled in their last game when he was not on the floor.
Whoever plays PG for Atlanta, they need to play solid defense on Magic PG Jason Williams, who is filling in for Jameer Nelson, as he has averaged 20.5 ppg and is shooting 66.7% in Orlando’s last 2 games.
In the loss to the Heat Dwight Howard (17 ppg) only took
5 shots and he needs to score for the Magic to win, as when he goes for
at least 14 points the Magic are 9-1.
Last season Howard averaged 22 ppg and 21 rpg in 2 wins in Atlanta and if he puts up those types of numbers again the Hawks will be in trouble.
Hawks C Al Horford (13.7 ppg 10.1 rpg) gives up a lot of muscle on Howard, but he has to keep him from scoring easy buckets deep in the paint and from dominating the glass.
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The SG match up in this game is sweet, as Atlanta’s Joe Johnson (22.6 ppg) will face off with Orlando’s Vince Carter (19 ppg). Each of these guys can light up the scoreboard, but the player that can play some defense will give their team a good chance to win.
The Hawks are great at rebounding as a team and they will have to do that tonight. If they can win the battle of the glass they have a great chance to win this game.
The Hawks boast one of the best starting 5’s in the league, but they have a thin bench.
Jason’s Pick: The Hawks will be playing in a huge nationally televised game and they are eager to prove that they are a legit title contender. They will come out firing, as they will win this game, send the Magic to their 2nd straight loss, and take a 1.5 game lead in the Southeast Division. However, be wary if Bibby can’t go tonight, as it is always hard to go to war without your main general.