Hawks vs. Mavericks Preview: Expect Offensive Fireworks Between Atlanta, Dallas

Action Network analyst Austin Wang gives his detailed thoughts, plus his top pick, for Sunday’s NBA game between the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks.

Hawks vs. Mavericks Odds

Hawks Odds +2.5
Mavericks Odds -2.5
Over/Under 219.5
Time 6 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks visit Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday for their NBA showdown.

This is always an underlying, exciting rivalry between these players, as they were famously traded for one another on the night of the 2018 NBA Draft.

As you know, both teams made out pretty well. Doncic and Young are both superstars and no-brainer selections for this year’s All-Star Game. With the exception of one game, the home team has prevailed in the matchup between these clubs since Doncic and Young entered the league.

With both teams playing well recently, which team has the edge in this game? Let’s dive into the matchup.

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The Hawks Are Surging (Again)

The Hawks surprised the league last season with a late-season surge and an impressive run to the Eastern Conference Finals, giving eventual champion Milwaukee a run for its money. They completely outperformed expectations and established themselves as a team to be feared going forward.

Or so we thought.

Atlanta is currently below .500 with a 25-27 record. The Hawks are sitting as the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference and will need another strong second half to position themselves well in a crowded East.

Scoring hasn’t been the issue, either. Their Offensive Rating is second (113.4) in the league, per NBA Advanced Stats. However, their Defensive Rating is 27th (107.2) and they’ve been letting teams walk all over them.

Fortunately, Atlanta has caught fire of late. The Hawks have won eight of their last 10 games, with the two losses coming against the red-hot Toronto Raptors. Fatigue likely played a huge part in their most recent defeat, as they were playing on the road and the second night of a back-to-back set. It was also their fifth game in eight days.

The starting lineup is unknown as John Collins, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams are listed as questionable. If Collins is out, the Hawks could move De’Andre Hunter in, giving them a small-ball lineup.

Bogdan Bogdanovic is also back in the rotation after a lengthy absence. He is a deadly shooter from behind the arc (36% 3-point percentage), so I like the offense to continue to keep cooking.

Mavericks Clicking Offensively

The Mavericks also got off to a slow start. They’ve been dealing with injuries and constant issues with COVID-19, but they have clawed their way back into the playoff picture. Dallas has won 14 of its last 19 and moved up to the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Doncic had a monster 33-point triple-double on Friday when the Mavericks ended a two-game losing streak with a 107-98 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Mavericks have a few names on their injury report: Sterling Brown, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis have all been declared out. Maxi Kleber is listed as questionable.

Kleber was out last game and Dallas rolled with a smaller starting lineup, with Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock starting alongside Dwight Powell. Kleber is one of the Mavericks’ best defenders and rim protectors, so his absence will really hurt their defense.

I have been riding Mavericks’ unders all season long. Just recently, they went on a streak of eight unders in a row and went under in 13 out of 14 games, with the lone over coming against the Houston Rockets, who believe defense is optional.

Since it broke that eight-game under streak, Dallas has gone 5-1 to the over. The Mavericks are were winning their games with defense, but it was just a matter of time before their talented offense started to click.

In their previous five games, they led the league in Offensive Rating (122.3). They put 132 points in consecutive games against the Trail Blazers and Pacers and should face the same type of success against a poor defensive team like the Hawks.

Hawks-Mavericks Pick

I foresee a high-scoring matchup between these teams, as Young and Doncic will try to out-duel each other. Both have playing amazing basketball recently and are reaching their peak form.

I’ve noted in my NBA Totals Market report that fouls and free-throw shooting have been on the rise. This has benefited both of these players and will most certainly give them extra opportunities to drive this score up.

Dallas’ offense has really started to gel lately, and I think it can continue to be successful against the Hawks. Depending on the injury statuses of certain players, I could potentially see smaller lineups for both teams, leading to a faster, higher-scoring game.

My play is on the over at 219.5 and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Total Over 219.5