The Atlanta Hawks (43-39, 16-25 away) face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38, 25-16 home) in the NBA playoff play-in tournament for the Eastern Conference eight-seed. The winner of the contest will take on the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Atlanta took three of four from Cleveland during the regular season.
Friday’s contest tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, OH. The Hawks open as a 1.5-point road favorite, and the over-under total is 225.5 points.
What to Know – Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta came into the play-in tournament as the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are 7-3 over their last ten games, including a 132-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets in the first play-in contest.
The Hawks were third in the division averaging 113.9 points per game behind 47.0% shooting from the field and 37.4% shooting from the 3-point line. On defense, the Hawks allow 112.3 points per game, 46.9% shooting from the floor and 36% from deep.
In Wednesday’s victory over the Hornets, six Hawks scored in double-figures, led by star guard Trae Young with 24 points. De’Andre Hunter added 22, and Clint Capela added 15 points and 17 rebounds. In the victory, Atlanta shot 52.1% from the field and hit 16-of-32 shots from the arc.
As favorites, Atlanta is 6-0 against the spread in their last six games and 5-1 ATS over its previous six, playing with one day of rest.
What to Know – Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers enter the final play-in game after losing to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. Cleveland entered the postseason after an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are 3-7 over their last ten games.
Cleveland is 12th in the conference scoring 107.8 points per game thanks to 46.9% shooting from the field and 35.5% shooting beyond the arc. The Cavaliers’ defense limits opponents to 105.8 points per game, 45.3% shooting from the floor and 35.2% from three.
Darius Garland paced the Cavaliers in their 115-108 defeat to the Nets on Tuesday. Evan Mobley poured in 19 points, and Kevin Love came off the bench to chip in 14. The Cavaliers hit 44.6% of their shots from the floor and 34.6% from the 3-point line.
Cleveland is 0-4 ATS over their last four games playing on multiple days of rest and 0-4 ATS in games at home against teams with a winning record.
The Pick is In
The Hawks and Cavaliers meet up with a trip to the first round of the playoffs on the line. Atlanta had the Cavs’ number during the regular season, winning three in a row, including a 131-107 triumph at the end of March.
Atlanta’s Trae Young is the equalizer in this one, willing the Hawks to a road win over the Cleveland and punching their ticket to the next round.
The Pick: Atlanta Hawks -2.5