The final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs on Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. The winner faces the top-seeded Miami Heat in Round 1. The Hawks are short favorites on the NBA odds Friday.
How to Bet Atlanta at Cleveland NBA Odds & TV Info
When: Friday, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Stream: ESPN app
NBA Odds: Hawks -2.5 (total 223)
Atlanta won three of the four in the series, including the last one 131-107 in Atlanta on March 31. Trae Young scored 30 points, Kevin Huerter had 23 and Clint Capela added 12 points with 14 rebounds. Cedi Osman led Cleveland with 21 points. Darius Garland had 18 points and eight assists while sitting out the final quarter of the blowout loss. Cleveland was without both starting big men in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Why Bet on Atlanta?
The Hawks advanced to this game with an easy 132-103 rout of visiting Charlotte on Wednesday. The season is over for the Hornets, who were overwhelmed in the 9-10 play-in game for the second year in a row and haven’t made the playoffs since 2016.
All five Atlanta starters scored in double figures, as did Bogdan Bogdanovic off the bench. It was De’Andre Hunter who came up big in the decisive third period, bursting out with 16 points after being held to 3 in the first half.
Hunter scored 22 points with seven rebounds. He hit 7-of-8 shots in the big third quarter and opponents shot 1-of-4 against him in the third. Hunter had been cold heading into the playoffs and shot 42% for 13.5 points in the final month of the regular season.
Clint Capela had 15 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks. Trae Young notched 24 points with 11 assists, although he didn’t shoot that well from the field. Against the Cavs this season, he averaged 32.5 points and 9.0 assists.
The Hawks swung the game with a 42-point third quarter in which they scored on 20 of their 24 possessions as they adjusted to a Charlotte defense that was hellbent on doing whatever it could to get the ball out of Young’s hands.
"You’ve got to attack it," Trae said of the scheming. "If teams are going to face-guard me or trap me, it’s my job to make the right play and then it’s my teammates’ job to finish and make the aggressive play."
Charlotte finished the regular-season with a scoring average of 115.3 points per game, the NBA’s fourth-best mark, but the Hawks’ defense held up and limited them to 103 points, thanks in large part to Capela and Hunter. LaMelo Ball finished with a team-high 24 points for the Hornets but, in a rather inefficient manner, it took him 25 shot attempts to get there.
Starting Hawks forward John Collins was able to go through a 4-on-4 session at Thursday’s practice. He hasn’t played in weeks and is still more likely to miss another Friday. With Collins out, Danilo Gallinari has been starting at the 4. Gallinari played well against the Hornets, going for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 30 minutes.
Why Bet on Cleveland?
Cleveland lost 115-108 in Brooklyn on Tuesday – the game was a rout entering the fourth but the Cavs made it interesting to at least carry some momentum into this one. The Nets made nearly 71% of their shots in the first quarter and closed the period with a 15-3 spurt that made it 40-20. It was a bigger lead than Brooklyn had in any first quarter during the regular season. They were up by as many as 22 in the third quarter, only to allow Cleveland to get within six in the fourth.
"You can’t give a team like Brooklyn that has championship aspirations and players who have won championships a 20-point lead," Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "Again, give our guys credit for getting back in it. But that’s damn near impossible to overcome."
All-Star Darius Garland had 34 points and five assists in a losing effort. With Isaac Okoro going scoreless and Caris LeVert and Lauri Markkanen shooting a combined 9-of-26 from the field, Garland had to carry the load.
“I learned a lot from this game,” Garland said after Tuesday’s loss. “The last time we played Brooklyn, it felt like a playoff game. So I mean, I got kind of acclimated to this one from the last one. So just another experience for us. Just watch the film and try to get better and get one Friday.”
Kevin Love tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season. Rookie of the Year favorite Evan Mobley finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Cavs All-Star center Jarrett Allen could be back from a finger injury Friday that has sidelined him several games – reportedly he’s going to try and go. He had arguably the best regular season of his career in the 2021-22 campaign by averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 67.7 percent from the field. If Allen is back and performing at the level he was before his finger injury, Cleveland is a different team. The Cavs’ frontcourt defense with Allen and Mobley was fearsome when they were on the court together.
One reason to perhaps like the Cavs? While the Hawks went 27-14 at home this season, they were just 16-25 on the road. They have not beaten a Top 10 team in either conference away from State Farm Arena since Jan. 23, going 0-9 over that stretch.
- Hawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road favorite.
- Hawks are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
- Hawks are 6-15 ATS in their last 21 road games.
- Cavaliers are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a home underdog.
- Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.
- Hawks are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Cleveland.
Cavs 113, Hawks 111 – Bet NBA Game Now!