Nets vs. Hawks Preview: Back Durant and Brooklyn in Atlanta

Back Durant and Harden on the road in Atlanta? Joe Dellera breaks down the matchup below.

Nets vs. Hawks Odds

Nets Odds +1
Hawks Odds -1
Over/Under 223
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nets suffered a surprising loss to the surging Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. While Kevin Durant sat that game, that’s still a game the Nets should have won. Now they face an Atlanta Hawks team that has not played since Monday.

Both teams are 7-3 over their last 10 games, but which squad has the edge in this matchup between two likely playoff teams?

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Brooklyn Nets

The Nets should see Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge return after one-game absences, and that’s instrumental to their team’s ability to succeed as they rank first and third in scoring on the team.

When Durant is on the floor, the Nets are 9.6 points better than their opponents per every 100 possessions. He’s been a plus on both sides of the floor. This may seem obvious considering he’s such a superstar, but his ability to score from anywhere on the floor and the gravity that he holds over opposing defenses really opens things up for their third, fourth, and fifth options on offense.

One thing about both Durant and Aldridge is they have been surgical from midrange. So while the Nets expected eFG% is one of the worst in the league, when you factor in who is doing the shooting, their actual eFG% of 53.9% makes much more sense. The Nets should be able to exploit the Hawks’ defense without De’Andre Hunter who brings both length and tenacity to their rotation.

Brooklyn’s impressive defense and their ability to defend the 3-point shot have been welcomed surprises for Nets fans. While the Nets give up these attempts at about a league-average rate, the Nets have the lowest 3-point percentage allowed at just 31.1%. This has resulted in the Nets having the seventh-best Defensive Rating in the league (106.4).

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have a number of injuries that they are currently dealing with. While they continue to miss Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter, they should get some reinforcements as Cam Reddish (wrist) is listed as probable for this matchup.

The Hawks have been excellent this season on the offensive side of the ball as they’ve scored 114.1 points per 100 possessions, second-best in the league, per Cleaning the Glass. This is largely due to their success from behind the arc as they lead the league in 3-point percentage, shooting nearly 40% from 3 point range as a team.

While the Hawks have rebounded after a rough start, they’ve struggled when facing elite competition. Against the top 10 teams in point differential, the Hawks are just 2-7, their defense collapses as they allow 117.4 points per 100 possessions. This could be problematic against this elite Nets attack.

Nets-Hawks Pick

The Hawks are looking to avenge their loss to the Nets about a month ago, but this will be a tough matchup for them even though they are at home.

The Nets took the last matchup 117-108 despite monster performances from both Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter. I fully expect Capela to replicate his performance, but if you’re the Nets, that’s totally fine – it’s expected even, given their interior personnel. However, the Hawks simply had no answer for Kevin Durant, and without Hunter, this will be an even more difficult matchup for Atlanta.

The Nets have an edge defensively, and their strength defending the 3-point line aligns with the Hawks’ biggest edge on the perimeter.  I expect Durant and Harden to handle business against Trae Young and the Hawks.

Pick: Nets +1.5