The 2016-17 NBA Season rolls into Atlanta with an Eastern Conference Showdown tipping off at 8pm ET. The 27-19 Hawks welcome the 25-20 Washington Wizards to the Philips Arena in a contest that very easily could be a playoff preview as both teams currently sit in the middle of the pack in a very crowded Eastern Conference.
For the Wizards they travel South with 25 wins over their first 45 games despite struggling to open up the season. The Wizards success comes from a variety of stars including All-Star point guard who orchestrates the teams offense night in and night out while Bradley Beal continues to develop into one of the NBA’s brightest shooting guard.
Meanwhile the Hawks are built around one of the more rounded starting five combinations in the NBA. Overall the team has five different players averaging double digit point totals including Paul Millsap who is averaging 18 points a game. Offseason acquisition Dwight Howard continues to pay off while averaging a double double on the year.
Now lets take a look at the keys to the game for tonight’s Eastern Conference Showdown between the Wizards and Hawks.
Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks (-4)
January 27th, 2017 @ 8:00pm ET
Win The Glass: For the Wizards it will simply come down to how well they rebound against a Hawks team that has one of the top rebounders in the NBA. In their previous two losses the Hawks were out rebounded by the Los Angeles Clippers 46-40 while the Pistons owned the glass recording 60 rebounds to just 32 of the Hawks. If the Wizards can get solid play from Marcus Morris and Marcin Gortat tonight they could walk away with a win.
Shut Down The Wall: This won’t be an easy task for the Hawks tonight as John Wall has been as good as any point guard in the NBA this season. Entering tonight, Wall is averaging over 23 points to go with 10 assists per contest as he continues to find ways to get all his teammates included. If the Hawks want to win this game they will need to clamp down at the top of the key to limit Walls big burst of the speed to the basket while also helping him open up the lanes for his teammates.
Entering tonight’s showdown the Wizards have been the better team against the spread posting a 26-19 mark while the Hawks are just 24-22 on the season. With that said this game being on the road favors the Hawks as they have posted an 11-11 record against the spread while the Wizards on the road (6-14 overall) have led them to just a 9-11 record against the spread.
The Wizards are riding a hot streak of late winning eight of their past ten games leading to some success against the spread. That success includes going 4-1 on the road over their last five while going 13-3 against the spread against other teams in the Eastern Conference.
For the Hawks they have had their hands full this season against teams in the Southeast Division as they have gone just 1-6 against the spread. That being said the have been really good at home going 5-2 over their last seven games at the Philips Arena.
As far as the head to head meetings one thing is for sure and that is they will put up some points. Entering tonight these two teams have covered the over in 17 of their last 24 meetings as well as in ten of their last 12 contests in Atlanta. These two teams combined to post 213 points in their first meeting back in October in Atlanta.
Prediction – Atlanta Hawks -4