Stadium: State Farm Arena.
Game 3. The score in the series is 1-1.
The Hawks managed to win one game at Madison Square Garden. Now the series moves to the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, where already the Knicks have to win at least 1 of 2, to regain the home-court advantage. Will Tom Thibodeau’s team do well in such a tough away game? Here are a few bets on Game 3 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Atlanta will have a tough time
The task for the first two games has been completed as the Hawks regained the home-court advantage with a victory in one of the meetings in New York. But will they be able to hold on to it in the Atlanta games? One thing is clear. The Hawks will have a very hard time dealing with this New York team. The only chance seems to be a perfect defensive performance.
1-1 is the best possible outcome for Nate McMillan’s team. Trae Young saved the Hawks in Game 1. In the second game, the Knicks finished things off long before the end, 101-92. Moreover, at the end of the first half, the Hawks led +13, 57:43. It wasn’t difficult to calculate that Atlanta scored only 35 points in the second 24 minutes.
One would have to expect similar failures from the Hawks. You couldn’t seriously expect Trae Young, who is the team’s undisputed leader, to be consistent in his first playoff run. All in all, Young had 30 points and 7 assists in Game 2, but six losses at once. He scored 10 in the entire second half and finished with a -12 rating. With such a leader, the Hawks have nothing to do in a series against one of the best defenses in the league. Atlanta simply have no one else to work with the ball.
New York have something on their roster
Unlike Atlanta, the Knicks have a less functional, but far more experienced teammate in the lineup. Derrick Rose has started to work in big minutes in the playoffs and has looked unbelievably cool so far. In the second game, Rose has 26 points in almost 39 minutes, on 42.9% shooting, 4 assists per 1 loss. Derrick is someone you can count on in key possessions. He doesn’t have the gap between the first and second half that Young has, at least in the second game.
RJ Barrett is disappointing so far, with only 13 points, on 5 from 14, in 26 minutes in the second game. The same goes for regular season hero Julius Randle, who has completely stopped making the playoffs - 5 of 16 and 15 points, with 4 more assists on as many as 4 fumbles. If this pairing can still pull themselves together, it will be a big help for the Knicks on offense. Randle, by the way, was recently named Most Improved Player of 2020/21.
Centre Nerlens Noel, who finished the second game with -14 in 16 minutes, has been ineffective on defense. Thankfully, Thibodeau has Taj Gibson, another star of the 2011 Chicago Bulls, along with Rose. The veteran made +23 in 30 minutes off the bench against Clint Capela.
Expert Betting Tips
Outscoring the Knicks on offense will not work for Atlanta. The Hawks’ offensive part, on the other hand, has yet to be stable due to the inexperience of their point guard leader. As it turns out, Atlanta need to defend to succeed in the series. But the Knicks have the terrific Derrick Rose, who has been purposefully preparing for the playoffs by playing much less in the regular season. Rose is in great shape and very difficult to stop; also, experience is in his favor. Also, Julius Randle just has to wake up. Also, RJ Barrett could well prove himself. All in all, the Knicks have the potential to add. And Atlanta? We predict that the Knicks will take the lead in the series. There’s a good chance the Hawks won’t pick up any more wins in the series.
- New York to win for 2.52;
- New York to win and Total Under 211.5 for 4.50;
- Atlanta’s Individual Total Under 106.5 for 2.00.