The Chicago Bulls are struggling and that’s an understatement. The Atlanta Hawks are struggling worse and that’s an even bigger understatement. What the Hawks have done lately is the more interesting story line. They have dug deep and found a way to win three of their last four games. Now don’t get too excited, they are still the 13-31 Atlanta Hawks and they will be hosting the 17-28 Bulls tonight.
Tonight’s meeting is the second game this year between the two and the Bulls got the better of the first game by a 91-84 final. The Bulls went off in that game with 62 rebounds and all five starters in double figures. However, this time it’s in Atlanta. The Hawks have the better of this series and come in having swept the last 5 straight against the Bulls at home.
These types of streaks are often mental and in the NBA, mental can mean everything. Basketball is a game of mental toughness and this game tonight will be no exception. The Bulls need to come in and get some swagger back. They must come into this one with confidence or they will leave in humility.
The Atlanta Hawks have found their recent string of success by relying on their defense and this is clearly their strength. They must play at both ends of the court tonight or it will be a long night against a not very good Chicago Bulls.
“We’re improving,” Bazemore said. “Coming down the stretch we want to win games and we had a plethora of guys step up. That entire second half we sort of impose our will on them.”
The Bulls are also picking it up and playing better. They put a string of three in a row together until they met the Warriors earlier this week. The Warriors are the Warriors and what more could be expected?
“We played three quarters of really good basketball, but you take one off against a team like (Golden State), you’re not going to win,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Basketball is a streaky game and when looking to bet these games, the rule of thumb is to bet the streak, bet the hot hand. Although Chicago has been playing better the last few games, so have the Hawks and this one is in Atlanta.
Prediction: Atlanta -2
The Heat travel to Charlotte tonight and take on the up and down Hornets. The Hornets should have a better record and they play to win the game and have stayed in nearly every game they lost. Their 18-25 record probably doesn’t speak to the talent level that’s really on this team. The problem doesn’t seem to be fundamentals, the problem is heart.
The Hornets tend to give up to easily. If they will show the kind of passion that they show in the early going of most games, they will win a lot of games, but they must change their mindset very quickly.
The Heat on the other hand, are playing well with a 26-19 record. This has a lot to do with coaching. Coach Spoelstra gets the most out of his troops. He is a motivator and a fantastic x’s and o’s guy as well. Look for the Heat to be ready for this game and expect a close one throughout.
Prediction: Heat + 4.5 Over 205