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Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers Gambling Preview & Free NBA Picks

Hawks vs Blazers NBA Handicapping

Portland intends its charmed campaign to continue this Wednesday night, with the slumping Atlanta Hawks coming to the Pacific Northwest. [ad-4468020]

Date/Time: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 10:30 pm EST
Venue: Moda Center, Portland OR
Broadcast: RSN (Regional Sports Network)
Spread: Portland -9
Over/Under: 217

With a match-up between two clubs travelling in decidedly different directions, fans can expect this one to be high-tempo and high-scoring. The Blazers (41-19) lead the NBA in points per game with 107.8 per, while the lowly Hawks (26-32) have only won two games in the past month.

In Portland’s last game, it lost by a point to the shorthanded L.A. Lakers, a rare home loss for the Blazers, which they will surely want to atone for.

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A lot of why Portland has been so fantastic can be explained by LaMarcus Aldridge.

He has really blossomed into one of the league’s elite players, averaging 23.7 PPG to go with 11.2 rebounds. The Blazers also feature the ascendant Damian Lillard, who also puts up over 20 per game to go with five and a half assists.

Lillard has been a little banged up, but he should be good to go against Atlanta. Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum also provide formidable big men presence for one of 2013-14’s elite Western Conference teams. Portland currently sits second in the Northwest division, but that is only a testament to the unstoppable Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City juggernaut.

Make no mistake: these Trail Blazers are for real, and they’re a really good ballclub.
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The Hawks have been in free-fall mode for some time now. Center Al Horford and PG Jeff Teague do what they can to make this offense go – the Hawks do lead the league in assists per game – but Atlanta plays Swiss cheese defense even by NBA standards.

The Eastern Conference is shocking (the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers notwithstanding) but even still, the Hawks are playing their way out of the playoff picture. To make matters more clear-cut, Atlanta also won’t have starting power forward Paul Millsap for the road game in Portland.

You can put Millsap on the list with Gustavo Ayon, the Hawks’s backup center who is out for the season after shoulder surgery. Atlanta has been so dismal and short-handed that they gave a contract to Spanish League castoff and former NBA second-round pick Mike Muscala. These realities coupled with the Falcons’s miserable season surely mean that Georgians are eagerly awaiting the Atlanta Braves to take the field.

Portland has the speed, the shooting and the offensive weapons to challenge any team in the league and most all wisdom points to the Blazers taking this game easily.

Granted, all slumps have to come to an end eventually, but with all the injuries for Atlanta and the recent performances factored in, it is just not likely that the Hawks take a red-eye flight back East with a win under their belts. Unless the Hawks can turn the clock back on Elton Brand’s career by about ten years, of course.

Well, at least the PG match-up of Lillard vs. Teague should be an exciting storyline between two excellent young players.

Trail Blazers 110, Hawks 98

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