Hawks vs. Magic NBA Pick
The Atlanta Hawks will be without star point guard Trae Young when they visit the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Can the Hawks be competitive?
Atlanta Hawks (6-27) vs. Orlando Magic (14-18)
Monday, December 30 at 7:00 PM ET (NBA TV), Amway Center
Trae Young Goes Down
Trae Young (plus-6.8 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) has been one of the few bright spots for a Hawks team that has the worst record in the NBA. The ankle sprain Young suffered in the 112-86 home loss against the Bucks last Friday gives the Hawks almost no chance to win on most nights.
Young is averaging 28.5 points, 8.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 34.9 minutes over 31 games. The second-year point guard picked up the scoring pace in the second half of December, scoring 30 points or more in five consecutive games (including 47 points against the Nets on December 21) before his 12 points in 15 minutes against the Bucks.
This is Young’s second ankle sprain this season. He hurt it in late October and missed one game. What’s next for him?
The right ankle injury was on a drive to the basket late in the first half against the Bucks. Young was helped off the court and did not return.
“I’ll work my ass off to get back as quick as possible,” Young told AJC.com. “I did that with my last time and I’m going to do the same thing to get back as quick as possible.”
With Young out of the lineup against the Bulls last Saturday, Cam Reddish (minus-5.3 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) started at point guard and scored just two points on 1 of 5 shooting and 0 of 3 from 3-point range in 28 minutes for a -21 +/- (Plus/Minus).
The Hawks struggled without Young and lost 116-81 against the same Bulls team that the Magic beat 103-95 last Monday. John Collins (plus-0.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) scored 34 points in 33 minutes and he should continue to see increased playing time and usage with no Trae Young.
Reddish was widely unproductive against the Bulls and he has to step up on Monday, along with Kevin Huerter (minus-1.2 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and DeAndre’ Bembry (minus-3.0 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) but I wouldn’t count on it.
Magic Fall in Milwaukee
The Magic lost 111-100 to a Bucks team without Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks outrebounded the Magic 57-35 and Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz went a combined 3-for-19 from the field (15.8 percent).
Gordon (minus-1.5 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) has been playing poorly, averaging just 12.0 points in his last 10 games because of an Achilles injury and he could be out on Monday.
The battle of the boards will be one of the keys to this game and the Hawks rank 29th in the NBA, averaging just 42.0 rebounds per game. Look for the Magic to have an edge here.
Trae Young has already been ruled out for this game and the Hawks will have a hard time slowing down Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin.
The Hawks are just 3-15 on the road, they have lost 10 straight games for the second time this season and the Magic have won their last two home games (against the Bulls and 76ers). Not having Young will be too much to overcome for the Hawks, I will take the Magic on the moneyline.