In a year as congested as this one, any small stretch of bad games can put you somewhere you do not want to be in the NBA.
That is what happened with the Atlanta Hawks, who find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture and will be on the road to take on the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
The Pacers have been one of the new darling teams of the Eastern Conference, as their young core of guards, including Tyrese Haliburton and Benedict Mathurin, continue to shine like they are multi-year veterans.
In terms of how the franchise outlook is going, the Pacers are well ahead of schedule and might serve themselves well to focus entirely on this young core developing.
While the Hawks have battled injuries all season, it would be nice for them to pull off a victory here and get their season back on track after lots of peaks and valleys.
The Hawks draw the road favorite here over the Pacers at -2.5.
Finding their footing for the rest of the season
Atlanta was the surprise team a few years ago with their run to the Eastern Conference Finals. What is crazy is that a lot of that core is still present on the team, and they have made moves to add more players.
Somehow, loads of other teams in the east have managed to pass them by, and now the Hawks are in a precarious spot to decide whether or not they want to keep this core together.
A win against the Pacers won’t change anything in particular, but it can have the ability to instill some confidence into a team that needs it.
A duo of stars taking over at the guard position
There are many stars in the NBA, and then there is Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton, while widely considered a great piece to grab in their trade last year, has morphed into an All-NBA type player.
Every single player around him is elevated by the way he plays, and his passes to find the open man are sensational.
Pair that with a brand new rookie in Benedict Mathurin that is a powerhouse of a scorer, and you have a pretty darn good team in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately, just before this game, Haliburton suffered an elbow injury and will be sidelined for at least two weeks. This will cause the Pacers rookies to step up in a big way in his absence.
Hawks @ Pacers Betting Prediction
The halfway point of the NBA season is just around the corner, and these teams are going to really start to fall into place in the standings.
A small difference between good and great isn’t always a lot, but the Hawks feel like a good team while the Pacers feel like a great one.
With that being the case, the Pacers are a good draw here even without Tyrese Haliburton in the lineup for a few weeks. Take them on their home court at +2.5 over the Hawks.
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