The Atlanta Hawks will be in Indiana to take on the Pacers. Both teams have designs on being a force in the Eastern Conference this season. The NBA odds are very close but which team is the right NBA pick?
Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers
Wednesday, December 1, 2021- 7:00 PM EST at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
The Atlanta Hawks are 11-10 on the year. They are an underwhelming 3-8 on the road but many of those losses came on a very tough West Coast road trip. The Hawks recently had a seven-game winning streak snapped by the New York Knicks at home. The Hawks will look to get back to their winning ways against the Pacers tonight.
The engine of the Hawks offense is Trae Young, who leads the team with 26 points and 9 assists per game. The Hawks have a deep roster and Young is bolstered by help from John Collins, Clint Capela, and Cam Reddish. The Hawks will be missing Bogdan Bogdanovic and DeAndre Hunter due to injury in this matchup.
The Hawks have an efficient offense. They shoot 46.4% from the field. This is 7th in the league. The Hawks also do a great job of taking care of the ball. Their 11.5 turnovers per game are second in the league. The Hawks have been a potent offense for the last five years, but their new attention to detail in limiting turnovers and playing better defense has catapulted them to the top of the East.
The Hawks play a switching style of defense that prevents opponents from targeting Trae Young on defense. Young is not a good defender and opponents will use the pick and roll to hunt this matchup. The Hawks will often switch initially and then switch back if an immediate attack on Young is not committed. If teams do not take advantage of Young, there are not very many other good options for teams to attack.
The Indiana Pacers are a disappointing 9-14 on the year. The Pacers have been beset by injuries to start the season so their slow start is not a surprise. Myles Turner is a game-time decision (illness) for the Pacers. Without Turner’s shot-blocking presence in the middle, the Pacers defense suffers immensely. If Turner misses the game, the Pacers will go from a team that is balanced; playing good offense and defense, to a team that will have to outscore their opponents.
If Turner is out he will most likely be replaced in the lineup by TJ McConnell. With McConnell in the lineup, the Pacers go from a big half-court team to a smaller team that needs to push the pace to compete. The Pacers are led in scoring by Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon is an excellent point guard who can hold his own on defense as well.
Indiana’s second option on offense is Domantas Sabonis, who is a versatile big man who can score inside and outside. Sabonis also leads the team in rebounding at 12 per game. With the return of Caris LeVert, the Pacers have three good options for offense in the half-court set. Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle and his squad are still figuring out the best way to take advantage of all these strong options.
Malcolm Brogdon vs. Trae Young
Both teams are heavily reliant on their point guards to jump-start their offense. Brogdon could draw Trae Young as a defensive assignment for significant portions of the game, but there’s no way the Hawks will let Young guard Brogdon. The Pacers will be relying on Brogdon’s contributions on both ends of the floor in this game.
If Brogdon is able to have a nice scoring night and shut down Trae Young, the Pacers will have a great chance of victory. If Young is able to get the better of Brogdon and have a huge scoring night, it’ll be tough for the rest of the Pacers to keep pace with one of the best scorers in the NBA.
I like the Hawks to get it done as they are the more complete team with more continuity. The Hawks have strong guard play and excellent forwards. We know that Clint Capelas rim protection will be in play, but Myles Turner’s contributions are in question. Even if Turner does play, the Hawks are strong enough at jump shooting behind the three-point arc that they can put up a lot of points without scoring layups at the rim. I like the Hawks as a small road underdog here. Take the points. Take the Hawks.
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