The playoffs matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks draws a lot of attention. A small number of fans expected to see these two teams in the playoffs, let alone reaching the fourth and the fifth seed in the East. Nate McMillan and Tom Thibodeau have completely different playing philosophies. The first one likes a fast and a bit more offensive approach, while on the other side, Thibodeau is a conservative guy, who prefers to see his team playing tough defense and create a difference on that part of the court. We haven’t seen these franchises in the postseason for a long time, and their comeback makes us happy.
Atlanta Hawks (+100) had 41 wins and 31 losses, this year, the same as the Knicks, but what is much more important to say is that this unit started the year with 14 triumphs and 20 losses. After that, and the change at the head coaching position with McMillan stepping in, the Hawks became one of the better NBA teams.
They ended the year with 16 wins and four defeats, closing it with three triumphs in a row – vs. Spurs, Hornets and the Celtics. As said before, this team plays fast and attractive basketball, with Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic leading the way.
The first already indicated his unreal potential, and for now, it seems that Young is bound to become one of the league faces in the years to come. As for Bogdanovic, his game went to another level wince McMillan became a head coach, with the Serb constantly dropping 20+ points and shooting more than 50% from deep.
New York Knicks (-120) are the top defensive team in the NBA. They allowed the fewest points, and their rivals had the worst shooting percentage both overall and from three-point territory.
This is only because of Thibodeau, whose signature mark is a tough defense. This guy learned his lessons from Pat Riley in the early ’90s very well. That Knicks’ generation also had the meanest defense in the NBA.
Julius Randle, the frontrunner for the Most Improved Player of the Year, is the unit leader. The big guy posts unreal stats and resembles Nikola Jokic a little bit, averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 boards, and 6 assists each night, which needs to be respected.
Head to Head Games
The Knicks had some sort of a magic formula for the Hawks, as they swept the franchise from Georgia in seasonal series with 3-0.
The first game took place on January 4, 113-108, the second on February 15, 123-112, and the third one on April 21, 137-127 OT, all for the NYK.
The line for the total number of points in this event is 215 points, and judging by the previous results between these two teams, Over should be a good choice. Atlanta won’t slow down, that is for sure, while on the other side, Knicks always play well in offense against the Hawks, which is why we suggest betting on Over. We also want to avoid betting on the winner because both teams are too close with quality, even though the Knicks won in all three matchups during the regular season.
Pick: Over 215 points
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.