Friday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds & Game 3 Preview for Knicks vs. Hawks: Atlanta’s Shooters Hoping To Thrive (May 28)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young.
- The Knicks vs. Hawks series heads to Atlanta for Game 3 on Friday night.
- New York delivered an exciting comeback win in Game 2, although Atlanta's experienced shooters are due for some positive regression.
- Raheem Palmer breaks down where he sees betting value and which side he's backing to take a lead in the series.
Knicks vs. Hawks Odds
|Moneyline||+150 / -180|
|Time||Friday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet|
Through the first half of Game 2, it appeared as if the Atlanta Hawks were on their way to sweeping the New York Knicks. Trae Young looked unstoppable, the Knicks’ starters continued to struggle and the Hawks were downright dominant, racing out to a 57-44 first-half lead.
In true Knicks fashion, though, they fought back with full force, and the bench continued to outplay their starters. A 30-8 second-half run helped them rally to tie the series at 1.
Now, the series heads to Atlanta for Game 3, which oddsmakers have installed the hometown Hawks as 4-point favorites with a total of 211.
With the Hawks hosting the next two, they’re now favorites to win the series and given the talent disparity between these two teams you have to think they have the edge. Nonetheless, both games have come down to the wire and this shapes up to be the most exciting first round playoff series.
Can the Knicks finally find an answer for Trae Young and the Hawks starting lineup, or will the Hawks make up for blowing their second-half lead in Game 2 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series?
Let’s analyze both sides and find out.
New York Knicks
If you ask any Knicks fan what’s the biggest issue with this team, they’re likely to disclose their frustration with head coach Tom Thibodeau continuing to start the offensively inept Elfrid Payton at point guard.
Although Thibodeau has earned the benefit of the doubt for turning the Knicks around in one season, Payton’s presence in this starting lineup has been a source of frustration all season long as has boiled over into the playoffs, where his presence has actively contributed to this team starting both games in a deficit.
The Knicks were down 24-16 at the start of Game 1 and 27-20 at the start of game. The theme of the first two games of this series remains the same: The Knicks’ starters continue to get outscored by the Hawks starters, while a deep bench keeps New York in the game. The Knicks’ starters are getting outscored 87-146 in this series, while the bench has scored 206 points thus far.
Aside from Payton hurting the spacing, the biggest issue for the Knicks is that the league’s Most Improved Player, Julius Randle, hasn’t looked like his regular-season self through the first two games of this series. Randle was just 6-of-23 for 15 points in Game 1 and 5-of-16 for 15 points in Game 2.
More troubling is that this Knicks’ offense is highly dependent on a 32-year-old Derrick Rose. While he has been solid, averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds off the bench, it doesn’t speak well of this team that they need him to play almost 40 minutes for this team to compete.
The New York offense is scoring just 103 points per 100 possessions in these playoffs and shooting just 34.9% from behind the arc. It’s becoming increasingly clear that this team is overmatched on that end of the court.
The Knicks have relied on their defense through two games, but they’re yet to find an answer for Trae Young, who’s abused them in the pick and roll, getting downhill into the paint at will.
Even more discouraging is that this Knicks team is giving up wide open 3-pointers to this Hawks team full of shooters. During the regular season, the Knicks were giving up the highest frequency of opponent 3-point field goals while their opponents were simultaneously shooting the lowest percentage in the league on these same attempts. The Knicks have been benefiting from some extremely lucky shooting variance and if it doesn’t continue, it’s clear the Knicks will struggle to win this series.
The young talent in these playoffs have been extremely exciting to watch. Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and the Atlanta Hawks’ very own Trae Young have set the world on fire, showing us the league is in a very good place.
Young has been unstoppable through two games, showing us he’s a maestro in the pick-and-roll, scoring and making plays for others. Young is averaging 31 points, 8.5 assists and four rebounds on 51% shooting and 50% from behind the arc.
Young’s impact on this series can’t be understated. In Game 1, he came off the bench to a 10-point deficit with 8:34 remaining and led a 13-3 run to tie the game with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter before the team went cold to end the game.
You have to wonder how many more assists Young would have if his teammates could actually make many of the open looks he’s been generating throughout this series. The Hawks are shooting just 30.8% from behind the arc through two games, coming off a game in which they shot 12-of-44 (27.3%) from behind the arc.
Despite getting quality looks, the Hawks couldn’t buy a bucket from three point range with Bogdanovic going 2-of-13 (15.4%), Danilo Gallinari going 2-of-9 (22.2%), DeAndre Hunter going 3-of-8 (37.5%) and Kevin Huerter going 1-of-3 (33.3%). Even Lou Williams, who scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in Game 1, struggled going 1-of-6 for just 5 points in game 2.
Young was the only player to shoot above average from downtown and the Hawks paid the price for it as they blew a game in which they led by 13 at the half.
Nonetheless, the offense is generating quality shots and we can expect to see many of these shots fall as role players tend to perform better at home. Besides missing open shots, John Collins has been the biggest disappointment, having played just 14 minutes in Game 2 due to foul trouble and being held scoreless.
If Collins can stay on the floor and the Hawks can make open shots, they should have an advantage over a Knicks team that hasn’t generated much offense from their starters.
This series is tied 1-1, but the Hawks are clearly the better team. Their starters have outscored the Knicks’ every game, and it feels like New York is playing with fire by coming back from a double-digit deficit in each of the first two games, both at home. Trusting this team to do the same on the road isn’t something I’m particularly interested in.
The Knicks haven’t done a great job at defending shooters, and you have to be concerned that the Hawks shooting will regress to the mean at home, where role players tend to play better.
I’ll lay the -4 with the Hawks and look for them to take a 2-1 series lead.
Pick: Hawks -4