Struggling in Atlanta

The New Jersey Nets haven't been above .500 in almost two months.

The surging Nets have a chance to change that as they try for their fifth win in a row Saturday night when they visit the struggling Atlanta Hawks.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Atlanta -3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 206 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on New Jersey +3.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

New Jersey (16-16) beat Charlotte 102-96 on Friday for its season-high fourth consecutive victory and sixth in its last seven games. The victory also marked the first time the Nets evened their record since they were 9-9 on Dec. 4.

The Nets, however, who haven't been over .500 since they were 4-3 on Nov. 12, won't be satisfied until the wins continue to pile up.

"We haven't turned any corner,'' New Jersey's Jason Kidd insisted. "Until you get 10 games over (.500) you haven't turned the corner. We're just at the starting line.''

New Jersey, which is 8-5 away from home, will try for a season-high fourth straight road win against the Hawks (15-15), a team it has been three straight times overall and in its last two trips to Atlanta.

Friday, though, the Nets took care of things at home in a game they were trailing by 10 after one quarter.

Vince Carter had 30 points, Richard Jefferson added 28 and Jason Kidd had 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his eighth triple-double this season.

New Jersey, which averages 92.8 points, topped the 100-point mark for the sixth time in its last 10 contests. The Nets are averaging 101.0 points during their current winning streak.

"Christmas has been good for us," Carter said. "It's been a different basketball team where we're just playing hard. We keep fighting and give ourselves a chance to win in the fourth quarter.''

Despite feeling ill, Jefferson topped his team-leading 24.6 average for the first time in three games Friday. He had 25 points on 8-for-15 shooting in New Jersey's 87-82 home win over Atlanta on Nov. 6.

Carter only had 12 points in that contest, but is averaging 25.0 points in 27 games versus the Hawks.

Atlanta lost 113-91 at Indiana on Friday to finish 0-3 on its brief road trip after winning a season-high five in a row.

Josh Childress matched a career high with 26 points and Josh Smith added 20 for the Hawks, who went 1-for-10 from 3-point range, were outrebounded 49-35 and allowed the Pacers to shoot 47.7 percent.

"We had a terrible game,'' Atlanta's Anthony Johnson said. "We didn't do anything well, in any phase of the game. In this league, there are nights like this that are always out there, always lurking."

Though Childress, who averages 11.9 points, has scored 39 points in his last two games, Atlanta will need Joe Johnson to back bounce back after being held to eight points on 3-for-11 shooting Friday.

Johnson, who is scoring a team-high 21.7 points per game, failed to score in double digits for just the second time. He had 15 against New Jersey the last time out after averaging 23.5 points versus the Nets in 2006-07.

Childress and Smith each had 18 points against the Nets in November.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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