Phoenix Suns vs. Atlanta Hawks Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Phoenix Suns (24-15 SU 26-12 ATS) vs. Atlanta Hawks (25-13 SU 20-18-1 ATS) Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 8 PM EST Friday January 15, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Suns +4 / Hawks -4
Over/Under: 217.5

Tonight the Atlanta Hawks host the Phoenix Suns in a game between 2 of the highest scoring teams in the NBA. This is a match up of a couple of teams that are in 2nd place in their divisions, as the Hawks trail the Orlando Magic by only game in the Southeast Division and the Suns trail the L.A. Lakers by 6 games in the Pacific Division.

Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games and the Hawks have won 2 straight and the Suns are coming off a loss.

This season the Hawks are 15-4 at home and the Suns are only 9-11 on the road.

Both teams like to get out and run, but if the Hawks do that tonight they may lose, as they will be playing the Suns game. If the Hawks can slow down the pace of the game they will be in good shape, as they have a better half court game. Atlanta needs PG Mike Bibby to slow the pace and he can do that by containing Suns’ PG Steve Nash, who leads the NBA is assists this season (11.2 assists per game).

The Suns are averaging 118 ppg in its last 3 road games and their 106.3 ppg road scoring average leads the league.

Bibby in the only starter for both teams that is not averaging in double figures and he is almost there at 9.4 ppg.

In the last 3 games for Phoenix they have blown big leads and they cannot afford to do that tonight against Atlanta.

In their last game the Hawks beat the Washington Wizard 94-82 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Hawks in the game was Joe Johnson going for 24 points on 10/23 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot 37/85 for a FG% of 43.5%. On defense the Hawks played great, as they held the Wizards to 29/81 from the floor for a FG% of only 35.8%.

The Suns lost to the Indiana Pacers 122-114 also on Wednesday night. The
high scorer for the Suns in that game was Amare Stoudemire going
for 21 points on 8/16 shooting. For the game the Suns shot 41/96 for a FG%
of 42.7%. On defense the Suns allowed the Pacers to shoot 37/86 from the
floor for a FG% of 43%.

This season the Suns have the highest scoring team in the league averaging 109.9 ppg and the Hawks rank 7th (103.2 ppg). On defense the Hawks rank a respectable 12th in points allowed (97.4 ppg) and the Suns rank 2nd to last allowing 106.9 ppg. Neither team is great on the boards, as the Hawks have a rebounding differential of -0.2 rpg and the Suns are at -1.9 rpg.

Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 against teams in the Pacific Division, and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 home games.

Phoenix is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 against teams in the Southeast Division, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog of 0.5-4, and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams with a winning % above .600.

Amare Stoudemire, who leads the Suns in both scoring (20.9 ppg) and rebounds
(8.7 rpg), will have a solid game tonight on both ends of the floor, as
the Hawks do not have much inside presence.

Josh Smith (14.7 ppg) and Joe Johnson (21.3 ppg) will both eclipse their scoring averages tonight against a weak Phoenix defense.

On the injury front PG Steve Nash is day-to-day for the Suns and the Hawks are not reporting any significant injuries.

Jason’s Pick: The Suns are 2 games below .500 and after this game they will be 3 games under .500, as the Hawks will win this game because they are a better defensive squad. Atlanta will win this game and cover the spread sending Phoenix to their 2nd straight loss.