|-2.5 DEN (-110) @ sportsinteraction|
My 10* PERFECT STORM is on the Den Nuggets at 7:35 ET.
The Denver Nuggets earned the title of "Comeback Kids' in last season's playoffs in the 'bubble' but opened the current season just 1-4. Denver then won 11 of 15 and ended January at 12-8. However, the Nuggets are just 4-5 in February and at 16-13 sit 7 1/2-games back in the West (No. 7 seed). If the playoffs were to begin today, Denver would be in the "Play-In" round (seeds 7 thru 10). The Hawks entered the current season off a three-year mark of 73-158 (.316) and will take the court tonight having lost FIVE losing of their last six games/ Atlanta is a modest 12-17, a record that would leave them a half-game outside of the East's No. 10 seed.
Denver's Jamal Murray is fresh off a career-high 50-point performance in Friday's 120-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a timely performance since it helped the Nuggets end a two-game losing streak and now the team has a chance to break even on its four-game East Coast road trip. Denver has as much quality depth as any team but SG Gary Harris (10.1) and PF Paul Millsap (10.4 & 5.2) are out. Center Jokic (27.0-11.2-8.6) is a star and just became the first Denver player voted to start the NBA All-Star Game since Carmelo Anthony in 2011 (he owns a league-high 26 double-doubles). Murray (20.6-4.4-4.4) has become an All Star caliber player. The 6-8 Porter (14.1 & 6.2) has come into his own (was a high school phenom) while swingman Barton (11.5-3.7-3.2) and guard Morris (10.6) regularly contribute. PF Green (9.1 & 6.0 in just 20 MPG) should get more "PT" with Millsap sidelined.
The Hawks have a bevy of young stars led by Young (26.6 & 9.3 APG), who is joined by PF Collins (17.8 & 7.4), SF Hunter (17.2 & 5.4) plus SGs Huerter (11.7-3.6-3.8) and Reddish (11.4 & 4.0). Former Houston center has been everything Atlanta has hoped for, averaging 14.7 & 14.0. Veteran Gallinari adds 10.6 PPG but has missed 12 games (he's active now). However, Hunter remains out with a knee injury (last played on Jan 29).
Atlanta fell behind by 27 points on Friday against the Celtics (would lose 121-109) and its defensive woes continue to mount. The Hawks beat the Clippers 108-99 in Atlanta back on Jan 26 but have since allowed 118.3 PPG (no opponent has been held under 100 points in that stretch) in going 3-9 in their last 12 games. Denver, led by Jokic and Murray, comes in averaging 115.5 PPG (4th) on 48.3% shooting (5th) and I'm laying the 'short' number!