A strong argument can be made that the Atlanta Hawks got totally boned in a game three loss, when star center Al Horford was tossed for elbowing Matthew Dellavedova. Not only was one of their best two-way players gone at the break, but Dellavedova oddly didn’t get ejected, despite also committing a foul that would have otherwise always been classified as a flagrant two. That’s the reffing we’re seeing in these NBA playoffs, and we saw it again last night when Dwight Howard back-handed Andrew Bogut and was able to remain in the game.
The lack of consistency of calls this year is beyond annoying. Those trying to make some cash via NBA betting know it more than anyone else. On top of the inconsistent decision-making by the refs, these wacky calls are impacting the game and the games themselves are increasingly tougher to predict. Few would have thought both of these series would have been 3-0 leads going into Monday night. And now that they were, even fewer would have given the Rockets a chance to stay alive. James Harden ensured that with 45 points, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Rockets have another historic comeback up their sleeve. The Hawks will need one if they’re to beat the Cavaliers, and their journey starts tonight.
Atlanta Hawks (1) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (2) on TNT at 8:30 pm ET
The Cavs have dominated NBA picks lately, as they’re 6-0 straight up over their last six games and have gone 3-1 against the spread so far in these Eastern Conference Finals. The one game they didn’t nail the spread was game three, when the Hawks battled to a 114-111 OT loss. That very well could have been Atlanta’s last gasp, as they dropped both of their home games and are now in an ugly 0-3 hole.
Exactly zero teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in NBA playoff history and that’s not changing against LeBron James in this series. King James has been a machine in this matchup and he was no better than his last game when he put up a triple double like we’ve never seen before – 37 points, 18 boards and 13 dimes. I doubt he goes off like that again, and I also doubt this game four is remotely close to what we saw in game three. The Cavs have even found a high level of success against Altanta despite missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving (past two games). Throw in a less than 100% DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver (out for playoffs) and the Hawks look to be a sinking ship. The boat goes to the bottom tonight.
Just because Atlanta is toast doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with this matchup, though. These two have combined to top the Total three out of four tries, so that’s worth a shot tonight, while the Cavs ATS and straight up is a solid bet. Atlanta against a +8 line isn’t the worst try ATS, either, but we’re siding with the Cavaliers in every way tonight.
Pick: Cavs 108, Hawks 97