The Atlanta Hawks (53-15) will try to slow down the league’s top scorer, Russell Westbrook (27.6 PPG), when they challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder (38-30) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game starts at 8:00 pm ET on Friday, Mar. 20 and will air on SPSO and FSN-OK.
The Thunder beat the Celtics 122-118 on Wednesday. With 36 points and 10 assists, Westbrook recorded his 24th double-double this season. The Hawks, meanwhile, are coming off an ugly 114-95 loss at the hands of the Warriors on Wednesday. DeMarre Carroll had a solid game, posting his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Enes Kanter has really been playing well as of late for the Thunder, averaging 20.0 points, 12.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.8 steals over the last five games.
From an effective field goal percentage perspective, this will be a battle of strength versus strength when the Hawks have the ball. Their elite offense ranks third in the NBA in that metric at 52.6%, while the Thunder are fifth-best in the league in effective field goal percentage defense (48.0%).
This will be the second matchup of the season between these two teams. The Hawks won the first game 103-93. In the loss, Westbrook had a double-double with 22 points and 11 assists.
Oddsmakers have deemed this game an even matchup and the Over/Under (O/U) is unavailable at the moment. The Thunder enter the game with records of 38-30 Straight Up (SU) and 33-33-2 Against The Spread (ATS). They have gone 18-9 SU and 11-15-1 ATS against teams from the Eastern Conference. Over their past 10 games, Oklahoma City’s offense has been playing lights out, averaging 112.3 points per game, well over their season average of 103.1. Oklahoma City has an edge in the rebounding department for this game, where they rack up a league-best 47.7 rebounds per game. Oklahoma City has been struggling as of late. The Thunder have given up an average of 110.2 points to opponents in their last 10 games, well over their defense’s season average of 100.5 PPG.
On the other side, the Hawks head into the game with records of 42-26 ATS and 53-15 SU. In Western Conference games, Atlanta has gone 21-6 SU and 18-9 ATS. Atlanta is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league, hitting 9.9 shots from three-point range per game. Defenses have a tough time accounting for every player when up against the Hawks, who are known for distributing the ball with 25.5 assists per game. Switching gears to Atlanta’s defense, teams seem to consistently miss shots against the Hawks, who are the fifth-best team in the league in terms of opponent field goal percentage allowed at .435. They average 8.9 steals per game, good for fifth in the league. Atlanta makes opponents pay for turning the ball over, ranking fifth in points off turnovers with an average of 18.3 per game. Atlanta may be taking trips to the free throw line early and often with the Thunder averaging 22.4 fouls per game, one of the highest marks in the NBA.
Following the Hawks’ latest win over Oklahoma City, Atlanta is still behind in the head-to-head record over the past 10 meetings, 3-7 SU. Additionally, the Thunder lead the matchup ATS with a record of 6-4. Oklahoma City and Atlanta each held the edge in three key areas (field goals, rebounds, and three-pointers) once in their last 10 meetings.
Predictions: SU Winner – OKC, ATS Winner – OKC
Oklahoma City scores 103.1 points per game (ranked seventh), but Atlanta typically gives up only 96.8 points per game (ranked fourth).
Atlanta has allowed an average of 98.0 points per away game this season. Oklahoma City averages 105.8 points per home game, placing the team fifth in scoring.
The Atlanta Hawks lost their last game by 19 points. In games decided by a margin of 18 points or more, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 7-3. Atlanta is 8-4 in blowouts this season.
When allowing fewer than 100 points, the Hawks are 38-4 on the season. When the Thunder score fewer than 100, they are a subpar 6-18.
When the Atlanta Hawks allow at least 100 points they are 15-11, while the Oklahoma City Thunder are 32-12 when they reach the century mark.
The Thunder have a defensive rating of 101.3 (ranked 11th), while the Hawks rank sixth for their offensive rating of 106.1.
The Atlanta Hawks have one of the best field goal percentages this season, ranking fourth in the league with a FG% of 46.5%. When their opponents have a similar or higher FG%, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-10.
The Oklahoma City Thunder average 22.5 three point attempts per game and are 8-10 when attempting at least 25 in a game. The Atlanta Hawks average 25.9 attempts and have an outstanding record (32-9) when attempting 25 or more.
The Oklahoma City Thunder rank 24th with an assist to turnover ratio of 1.45. The Atlanta Hawks have a higher A/TO (1.88), ranking third.
The Thunder earn a league-high 47.7 rebounds per game, while the Hawks rank 28th with 40.7 per game.
The Atlanta Hawks are among the worst offensive rebounding teams (ranked 30th), while the Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the NBA’s top defensive rebounding teams (ranked second).
Atlanta averages a forced turnover rate of 16.0% this season, ranked third in the league. Oklahoma City has an 11-13 record when they suffer a turnover rate equal to or exceeding this.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.