Hawks Likely To Pack Over 16,000 For First Playoff Game Since ‘17
A near-capacity crowd is expected in Atlanta as the Hawks look to ride their homecourt advantage to a victory after watching Knicks fans help sway a rousing second-half comeback with what Walt Frazier would elegantly categorize as a vociferous approach. There’s no question that being spurred on by a fan base hungry for New York’s first playoff victory since 2013 aided the cause.
The Hawks haven’t reached the postseason since ’17 and should be energized by familiar sightlines and a partisan crowd. Atlanta won its last 11 regular-season home games to fuel its run to the No. 5 seed and a Southeast Division title by a single game over Miami.
Although there will certainly be more than a handful of Knicks fans in the State Farm Arena, part of what changed since Nate McMillan took over was that his team began to protect their home court much better than they managed to under predecessor Llloyd Pierce. The Heat, Bucks, Suns, Blazers and Wizards were among their late-season victims, so the Hawks have taken down quality teams and certainly know what they’re in for in Game 3 against New York.
Julius Randle hasn’t come close to scoring the 37 points per game he averaged against Atlanta during the regular season, but Derrick Rose, Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks have all stepped up in creating and making shots. The Knicks have struggled offensively in the series and nothing seems to come easily, but if it hadn’t been for Trae Young’s heroics down the stretch in Game 1, they would hold a 2-0 lead in this series.
Full Hawks Vs. Knicks Odds At Online Sportsbooks
Young has averaged 31 points per game through the first two games while not monopolizing the ball and keeping others from finding a rhythm. Bogdan Bogdanovic has been a consistent threat while Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari have been effective off the bench. It can be argued that if the Hawks don’t miss 16 of 18 shots as New York made its comeback, it would have been able to hang in there down the stretch and ultimately would’ve prevailed. Bogdanovic, Gallinari and De’Andre Hunter missed open looks they had been knocking down earlier in the contest, which made McMillan’s decision to rest Young early in the fourth quarter all the more maddening since the game ultimately slipped away. The Hawks’ head coach has been criticized for his personnel decisions and might tighten up his rotation as he looks to keep from falling behind for the first time in this first-round series.
Oddsmakers installed Atlanta as a 4-point favorite and there’s been little movement as of Thursday afternoon. BetRivers favors the Hawks by 4.5 points, so if you’re interested in the Knicks there’s an advantage there. FanDuel, DraftKings, and Westgate all set the line at 4 points and the total at 211. BetMGM has the total at 211.5.
One player prop worth monitoring trusts Randle to finally get it going after a strong finish to Game 2. He’s got a shot to top 24.5 points, which is the number available at BetMGM. Young’s projected points total is set at 25.5.