Portland Trailblazers (8-3 8-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Hawks (8-2 9-1 ATS) Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 7 PM EST Monday November 16, 2009
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Blazers +3.5 / Hawks -3.5
Tonight the Atlanta Hawks host the Portland Trailblazers in a big inter-conference game. To say both these teams are hot is a tad of an understatement, as the Hawks have won 4 in row and are in 1st place in the Southwest Division and the Blazers have won 6 in a row and are in 1st place in the Northwest Division. The Hawks are 4-0 at home this season and the average margin of victory in those wins is 17.5 points. The Hawks have already beat the Blazers this season on the 3rd of this month and after that game Portland free-agent Andre Miller became the starter at the PG position. Both teams are stacked and have young talent and each is set to challenge the upper echelon teams in their respective conference.
In their last game the Blazers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 80-74 on Saturday night. The high scorer for the game for the Blazers was Brandon Roy going for 25 points on 9/16 shooting. For the game the Blazers shot 27/64 from the floor for a FG% of 42.2%. On defense the Blazers really clamped down, as the Bobcats only shot 30/82 for a FG% of 36.6%.
Also on Saturday night the Hawks schooled the New Orleans Hornets 121-98. The high scorer for the Hawks in that game was Joe Johnson going for 26 points on 10/16 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot lights-out going 48/88 from the field for a FG% of 54.5%. On D the Hawks played well holding the Hornets to 40/91 shooting for a FG% of 44%.
This season the Hawks rank 3rd in scoring (108 ppg) and the Blazers only rank 23rd (95.4 ppg). On defense it is a different matter, as the Blazers have the best D so far this season only allowing 87.1 ppg while the Hawks rank 17th (100 ppg). The Blazers have the 2nd best rebounding differential in the league at +6.9 rpg while the Hawks are at +2.9 rpg.
Besides having the best D is terms of points allowed the Blazers’ opponents have the lowest FG% in the league at 41%.
The PG match up is key in this game, as both Andre Miller (10.5) and Mike Mibby (11.3 ppg) are having solid seasons. These guys will have to play good D on each other and the winner of the PG battle will give their team a great chance to win.
The Blazers and their top-ranked D will be put to the test tonight, as 4 out of their 5 starters are averaging in double figures and 6th man Jamal Crawford is averaging 17.7 ppg.
The Hawks can score from outside and especially down low so they will be tough to stop.
Greg Oden (9.7 ppg 8.5 rpg) ranks 2nd in the league in blocks and he will have to be THE man in the middle tonight and play solid inside D and control the lane.
The Blazers like to score by penetrating and hitting mid-range J’s and they will be facing the league’s top blocker in PF Josh Smith (2.6 blocks per game).
This season the Hawks have the best interior offense averaging 54 ppg in the paint while the Blazers only rank 29th. In their meeting at the beginning of the month the reason the Hawks won is that they dominated the paint scoring 50 while the Blazers only had 34.
The Blazers have to play good inside D and the Hawks have to play good perimeter D. The Hawks also have to rebound well tonight and now allow the Blazers to win the battle of the boards.
Oden and LeMarcus Aldridge (14.4 ppg) have to give the Blazers some interior scoring so the Hawks do not pack the perimeter.
The Hawks have one of the best starting 5’s and 6th men in the league, but after that they are pretty thin so the top 6 has to stay out of foul trouble tonight.
SF Marvin Williams is 6’9″ and he may cause problems for Brandon Roy (20.6 ppg), because of his size, but he has to keep Roy in front of him and now let him penetrate into the lane.
On the injury front SF Travis Outlaw is Out for the Blazers while the Hawks are not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: this is a classic offense vs. defense game in the high scoring Hawks against the defensive Blazers. The Blazers have won 6 straight, but that streak will end tonight, as the Hawks have too many scorers for Portland to contain. The Hawks will win this game and cover the spread in winning their 5th straight game.