Atlanta defeated Orlando 103-93 in Game 1 of this series despite allowing Dwight Howard to score 46 points and Jameer Nelson to score 27—the key was that the Hawks shut down the rest of the Magic shooters, as no other Orlando player had more than six points. In fact, Atlanta’s Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 23 points for the Hawks and by himself outscored the rest of the Magic squad, 23-20. Howard and Nelson combined to shoot 26-for-41 (63%) from the field, the rest of the team shot 8-for-34 (24%). Atlanta, meanwhile was led by Joe Johnson’s 25 points. Basketball scores.
Saturday marked a profound turnaround for an Atlanta team that lost its final six games of the regular season. Amidst the losing streak the Hawks began to resemble the team that got swept by Orlando in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals by an average margin of more than 25 points.
“We understood that we played this team four times this year and we won three of them,” Johnson said. “We’re a confident group. I think the last six games of the season people kind of looked down on us because we lost all six. But now we have a plan. It’s coming to fruition and we just have to go out and play together.” Basketball odds.
A key part of the formula for success when Atlanta has defeated Orlando this year has been on the defensive end of the floor. In the three regular season wins over the Magic the Hawks suffocated Stan Van Gundy’s team, holding them to 41.6%, 35.2% and 37.8% shooting from the floor. Also in those victories, the Hawks held an overall +15 rebounding advantage in the three games, being out rebounded only once.
The pick here, however, is for Orlando to bounce back at home in what’s close to a must-win situation, and end the team’s four game losing streak to the Hawks. The following FoxSheets trends favor this pick.
Play On – Home teams (ORLANDO) – off an upset loss by 10 points or more as a favorite, playing with 2 days rest. (51-21 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.8%, +27.9 units. Rating = 3*)Play On – Home favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points (ORLANDO) – double revenge – 2 straight losses vs. opponent against opponent off an upset win over a division rival as an underdog. (39-14 since 1996.) (73.6%, +23.6 units. Rating = 2*) Basketball spreads.
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