Atlanta Hawks vs. Houston Rockets Game Preview – March 16, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| March 16, 2021 5:39 am PDT

The Hawks fly into Houston looking to heap more misery on the Rockets. Atlanta is eighth in the Eastern Conference, and if they want to make an assault on the top six and move into the automatic play-off places, they need to start making their move now. The Rockets are enduring a torrid time of things this season, and the only thing they have to play for is avoiding the wooden spoon. They are also looking to build for next season and will therefore want to finish this campaign off strong to give them momentum going into the break.

They also have an excellent record over the Hawks to uphold, having won the last six fixtures against them, including the previous three in Houston. Over the last ten meetings between the two teams, the Rockets have averaged an impress seven points more than the Hawks, which should give them plenty of encouragement tonight. This has predominantly been down to first starts as they have averaged a whopping 11 points more than Atlanta at the halftime break during those ten games.

Hawks vs. Rockets Match Odds 

Hawks -7.5-110
Rockets +7.5-110
Hawks To Win-335
Rockets To Win+280
Over 223.5 Points-110
Under 223.5 Points-110

Although the Rockets have dominated this fixture recently, you would have to say that the spread looks about right for this one. Coincidentally, the last time these two met, the Rockets gave the Hawks this sort of lead. However, that was over a year ago now, and much has changed since then. The points total isn’t too far off what I anticipated, but you would say it’s slightly low if you had to comment on it.

The Rockets have lost three-quarters of the matches that they have entered as underdogs.

Hawks Analysis

The Hawks have looked better recently than they have done the entire season, which doesn’t bode well for the failing Rockets tonight. Atlanta is on their longest win streak old the season, which stands at five, and they will be hoping to make it six here. Apart from the Heat, they haven’t beaten anyone of note during that time, but they have still pout on some good performances nevertheless.

On the road, they have won nine and lost 11, which surprisingly is one of the better away records in the Eastern Conference. They have won three games on the road for the second time this season. The last time they did this, they lost one of the season’s highest-scoring games against the Nets. It would be great to see a spectacle similar to that here, but the Hawks will hope for a different outcome.

Here are the latest betting trends for Atlanta:

  • The total has gone over in 12 of their last 17 matches.
  • They have only won two of their previous six games against the spread when playing against Houston.
  • Atlanta is 1-5-1 in their last seven games on the road.
  • The Hawks have lost 16 of their previous 20 matches played in Houston.
  • Four of their last five games against teams in the Western Conference have gone over the betting total.
  • They have only won two of their previous six games against the spread when facing teams from the Southwest Division.

Despite not particularly shooting well, the Hawks still have a decent offense this season. However, they have shot we’ll under pressure from the free-throw line, so the Rockets will have to be disciplined tonight.

The Hawk’s most significant asset in attack and possibly overall is their offensive rebounding which is only bettered by the Pelicans this season. Clint Capela has contributed towards most of their rebounding success this season, but he remains questionable to play tonight as the big center recovers from a heel injury. He missed the game against Cleveland on Sunday and faces a late fitness test here tonight.

Trae Young has controlled their offense very well this season, and he is the second-highest assists maker in the league this year. It seems this approach is something he takes off of the court as well as on it.

Their defense is of a similar level, and therefore you would say that they are an honest, well-rounded team. They have covered their opponents very well this season, making life very difficult for them in the process.

The Hawks will be slightly concerned with the number of injuries they are picking up, and they certainly won’t want to lick up anymore. They will be without Dunn, Hunter, and Reddish, while Okongwu remains questionable to feature alongside Capela.

Rockets Analysis

The Rockets are winless in 16 games which is the longest losing stream in the NBA this season. When you look at their results, it’s hard to see where a win will come from. They have lost nine games in a row by a scoreline of at least double digits. It’s safe to say they are a team lacking confidence.

Their record in Houston has been abysmal, and they have only won five of their 16 home fixtures this season. The Rockets are looking to snap a seven-game losing streak in Houston. The last time they won a home fixture was at the back end of January against Portland.

Here are the latest betting trends for Houston:

  • The Rockets have only won one of their previous nine games against the spread.
  • Six of their last nine matches went under the betting total.
  • They have lost their previous eight games at home against the spread.
  • Atlanta is winless against the spread in their last six matches against teams from the East Coast.
  • The total has gone under in 15 of their previous 20 games played in March.
  • Only two of their last nine games played on a Tuesday have failed to go under the points total.

As you imagine, from a team that has seen so many games go under recently, the Rockets have a poor offense that cannot shoot! They have the worst home attack in the NBA, which will be music to the Hawk’s ears.

The Rockets haven’t made many assists this season which would typically mean they have been poor at passing, but when you have shooting figures as bad as theirs, it’s clear to see that is where the problem lies.

Their defense has been marginally better but is still lacking in most areas, least, not their rebounding. Tonight, you will see one of the best offensive rebounding units take on one of the worst defensive units, which spells trouble for Houston.

However, what the Rockets are good at is blocking, and if they are to stand any chance of even getting close to the Hawks tonight, this will have to be on point once more.

With so much going wrong for the Rockets this season, it is no wonder they are scrambling to do business before the trading deadline. One player’s name who keeps popping up is Aaron Gordon. He knows what it’s like to feature for an underperforming team and is looking for a change of scenery.

The Rockets are also plagued with injuries right now, and they will miss Tucker, Gordon, Wall, Exum, Wood, Nwaba, and Kurucs. If that wasn’t bad enough, there are also doubts over McLemore and House Junior, who are both battling back from injuries.

Hawks vs. Rockets Betting Pick

Pick
  • Hawks -7.5
    -110

There really can be only one winner of this game, and that is the Atlanta Hawks. The Rockets are looking dreadful right now, and with an ever-increasing injury list, it’s hard to see where the next win will come from. I don’t think even their impressive record against the Hawks can save them from defeat tonight. Atlanta area on a good run of form right now, and although they haven’t beaten the highest caliber of opposition, they have been clinical, and if we see much the same tonight, they should sweep the Rockets aside with ease.

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