The Atlanta Hawks are playing the Charlotte Hornets for the nine and 10-seed play-in tournament for the Eastern Conference. The winner will play the Cleveland Cavaliers to face the Miami Heat in the first round of the East playoffs.
The Hawks are 4.5-point favorites at home with a moneyline of -190. The over/under is set at 236.5. I believe the Hawks will win this game because of their playoff experience and superstar: Trae Young. Trae Young has just become the second player to lead the NBA in points and assists and the Hawks have something to prove after a disappointing start to the season, especially due to their playoff run last year.
The Hawks are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA but their Achilles heel is the defensive end. The Atlanta Hawks are led by their superstar Trae Young who is fourth in points per game and third in assists per game in the league. They have great wing shooters like Bogdanovic, Gallinari, and Kevin Herter and a decent big man presence with DeAndre Hunter and Clint Capela.
Unfortunately, the Hawks are going to be playing without John Collins (due to injury) and will miss his presence on both ends of the floor but I believe their offensive firepower will get them through the first round of the play-in tournament. The Hawks started the season with a below .500 win percentage below the all star break and made it to the 9th seed in the East.
Buzzin to Ball
The Hornets are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. They have a great young core with Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and LaMelo Ball with other good role players like Rozier and Oubre Jr. Gordon Hayward will not be playing in this game due to injury. It has been truly exciting to watch Bridges, Washington and Ball improve their overall game from last year.
The Hornets have one of the fastest paces in basketball but they also struggle on the defensive end. The Hornets allowed 144 points to the Pacers last year in the play-in tournament. For this year of the play-in tournament, the focus will be on the defensive end but they did go on a three-game winning streak to close the season!
Trae Young to Out Ball LaMelo & Hornets
One of the biggest matchups in this game is at the point guard position. Trae Young has the upper hand on LaMelo Ball in playoff situations after turning into a villain in two of the most toxic arenas in the NBA for opposing players: Wells Fargo Center and MSG. I believe the home floor advantage for Trae Young and the Hawks will help them win the game and advance to face the Nets or Cavs.
If this game was away at Charlotte, I believe it would be a different game due to the Hawks away record. For this game, I am definitely taking the over of 236.5 and the Hawks to beat the Hornets by more than 4.5 points. I believe the playoff from last year’s run to the eastern conference finals will help the Hawks advance to the next stage of the play-in tournament. I trust in Trae Young to lead the Hawks to the win in impressive fashion.
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