Atlanta (48-32) at Cleveland (56-24)
When: Monday, April 11th 2016
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBA TV
The Atlanta Hawks look to lockdown the third-seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs with a strong finish in its final two games. They visit the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight – a team that swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and have taken both meetings this year. Atlanta is coming off a key 118-107 home victory over Boston on Saturday and are a game ahead of Miami in the Southeast Division. The Hawks can fall down to the fifth seed if they’re not careful, so tonight’s game is big. Atlanta comes in winners of three straight and 12 of their last 15. All-Star Paul Millsap scored a season-high 31 points to go along with 16 rebounds and Jeff Teague continued his stellar play of late with 24 points in Saturday’s victory over the Celtics. The win finished out the home schedule for Atlanta, which went 27-14 in its own building, and it will finish up at Cleveland and Washington as it tries to hold off Boston, Miami and Charlotte for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Cleveland is one team that has beaten the Hawks in Atlanta’s recent surge, but that was April 1st and the Cavaliers were playing their starters most of the game. They have laid off the minutes for their stars as they gear up for the playoffs. LeBron James sat out Wednesday’s loss at Indiana and Iman Shumpert, who started in James’ place against the Pacers, got the night off on Saturday to rest nagging knee soreness. Cleveland is coming of back-to-back road losses at Indiana and Chicago, but finish up the season at home against Atlanta and Detroit. The Cavs have scored over 100 points in eight straight games and are ranked 8th in the league (104.2). James returned from his one-game hiatus and scored 33 points on 13-of-17 shooting on Saturday night.
The Cavaliers are still working things out as the playoffs approach and the Hawks are playing great right now. I’ll take the points in this game.
Pick: Hawks +5