Denver Nuggets vs Atlanta Hawks Game Preview 12/02/2022

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Denver Nuggets vs Atlanta Hawks Game Preview 12/02/2022

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Denver Nuggets vs Atlanta Hawks Game Preview 12/02/2022

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Friday night NBA hoops brings an interesting slate of games to the table, but none more fascinating than the inter-conference matchup between the Denver Nuggets vs the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 EST in State Farm Arena. Sitting at 12-10 overall, the Atlanta Hawks are in the middle of the Eastern Conference pack and are 3-2 vs Western Conference teams this season. On the opposing side, the traveling Nuggets are second in the West standings at 14-7. Denver is 8-5 as road warriors this season and are no stranger to defeating East squads. Interestingly, Atlanta is the current betting favorite at -1.5 ahead of the game. 

How Denver Can Win: 

While Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr haven’t performed like All-Stars, their presence has more than made a difference for this Nuggets team. It’s given Nikola Jokic some breathing room and less of the incredibly high offensive burden he’s shouldered the last couple of years. The reigning back-to-back MVP is scoring less volume wise, 22.7 PPG is down from his 26-27 PPG average from 2021-22. However, the Joker ranks at the top of the NBA in efficiency, coming in at a remarkable 70.6% true shooting rate which ranks nearly 13% above league average. 

Jokic’s continued offensive brilliance still anchors the Nuggets offense to a 117.2 ORTG which is a top five unit in the league. For the Nuggets to have offensive success against the Hawks, they’ll need to take care of advantageous one-on-one matchups while spreading the floor out and scrambling the Hawks backline. Atlanta’s defense has improved from last year’s disaster but is still vulnerable to giving up hot shooting nights.  

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

How Atlanta Can Win: 

The Hawks are 7-4 in their home confines but have split their last four in State Farm Arena going 2-2 in the last two weeks. The addition of Dejounte Murray looks mixed but leaning on the net positive side for the time being. Sure, their record is staying stagnant at two games above .500 but Murray’s presence has a strong effect on their offense. Young’s creation load is alleviated with Murray providing strong scoring and playmaking talents to the table. 

Atlanta’s offense is disappointing numbers wise. They mark up a 112.0 ORTG which is below league average and ranks 20th in basketball. That’s not the rate at which the Hawks offense should be churning at. Luckily, there’s a solution that they might be able to pull out against the Nuggets. Denver is beatable on defense against high pace teams that can also provide constant pressure on the rim. The Hawks rank eighth in pace at 100.4 and their two stars in Young and Murray will get into the paint at will. 

Game Prediction: 

Atlanta Hawks over Denver Nuggets 115-106 



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