NBA Basketball: Denver at Atlanta Print
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Tuesday, 12 December 2006 09:00
NBA Headline News

Bettors Don't Think Hawks Can Repeat Last Weeks Performance

Team Page: Denver :: Atlanta

75% of Bets Placed on Nuggets -6 | Matchup | NBA Picks
In order to repeat their stunning performance against the Denver Nuggets from last week, the Atlanta Hawks will likely need Joe Johnson back in the lineup Tuesday night at Philips Arena.

The Hawks came roaring back against the Nuggets in Denver last Wednesday, rallying from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 98-96. Atlanta scored 37 points in the final quarter, capped by Shelden Williams' two free-throws with five seconds remaining.

Johnson scored 27 points to lead the Hawks.

Oddsmakers have made Denver -6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 209.5 total points (View NBA Sports Books).

But Johnson suffered a strained right calf in Atlanta's 106-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, and was forced to miss the Hawks' 117-92 defeat at Sacramento on Sunday.

That snapped Johnson's NBA-leading streak of 376 consecutive games played, which dated to his 2001-02 rookie season. His previous missed game was Feb. 19, 2002, the day before he was traded from Boston to Phoenix.

``We didn't have Joe, but that doesn't mean anything. Joe is not super human,'' said Marvin Williams, who started in place of Johnson. ``Some days he's not going to be out there and we have to find a way to play when he's not.''

The Hawks sure didn't put forth a good effort without Johnson, who has led or tied for the team lead in scoring in every game he's played this season. No starter scored in double figures against the Kings, and Atlanta allowed Sacramento to shoot a season-best 57 percent from the field.

``That's way too many points to give up to any team,'' Hawks guard Speedy Claxton said. ``If we expect to be in games we've got to hold them to 90 points.''

The Hawks have lost three of four and finished 2-3 on their five-game road trip. They leave for two more road games following this contest.

The Nuggets (11-7) have been terrible in Atlanta, losing 15 of their last 16 visits to the city. Denver's 100-96 win on Feb. 15, 2005, was its first in Atlanta since the 1988-89 season.

Overall, the Hawks (8-12) have won nine of the last 12 meetings between the teams.

The Nuggets lost 105-90 to Dallas on Saturday to open a five-game road trip. Carmelo Anthony, who leads the NBA with 30.9 points per game, scored only 18 points on 8-for-26 shooting against the Mavericks.

He was consistently double and triple-teamed by Dallas, resulting in his lowest output since scoring 15 points in a season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

``That led to frustration and like they do with all great players, they brought over a second and a third man,'' Denver coach George Karl said.

The Hawks also limited Anthony last week, holding him to 24 points - his third-lowest total in 18 games this season. For his career, Anthony is averaging 24.4 points in seven games against Atlanta.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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