After knocking off the best team in the NBA, the Atlanta Hawks will try to pull off the same trick against the reigning champions on Monday night when they take a trip to Miami. With nine wins from their last ten games, the visitors won’t be short of confidence as they look to maintain their surprise run.
It’s been teamwork rather than anything spectacular that has propelled the Hawks to a 13-5 start this season. They've held opponents to 93.6 points per game with Al Horford and Josh Smith anchoring their defence, which was key as they beat high-flying Memphis 93-83 on Saturday.
That’s going to give the Heat concern after a rare run of back-to-back losses last week and an open admission from coach Erik Spoelstra that there are definite flaws which still need addressing. The Heat are still 2.75 favourites to retain their title and there’s plenty of time left to hit top gear. But on current form, Atlanta are very tempting 3.60 to win in regulation or 1.91 on the handicap of +7.
After splitting a mini-series with Boston, Philadelphia host Detroit with a few concerns over their shooting, and memories still fresh from when they hit just 29.8% in a 94-76 reverse to the Pistons less than a month ago. The Sixers have lost three of their last four, with no sign of help arriving from Andrew Bynum, and their offense has begun to splutter. The Pistons are 7-5 this season in games where they’ve led their opponent in field goal percentage and although they’re underdogs by six points, they are worth a look.
Golden State will bid to extend their current winning streak to four when they call on the Charlotte Bobcats. The Warriors have racked up 100 points five times in their last six games and it’s no coincidence that those have all resulted in victories. With the Bobcats conceding a mammoth 103.4 points per night this season, no wonder Golden State are 1.48 to win. But with Charlotte also capable of putting up points, consider going over the total points line of 203.0 at 1.91.
Bet of the day: Take Detroit over Philadelphia on the handicap.