- The New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks are set to face off in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
- The two teams have remarkably similar resumes, and the series looks very even.
- While Trae Young might be the best player on the court, the Knicks have home court advantage in the series.
LAS VEGAS - Two teams from the Eastern Conference that everyone counted out now have a shot to make their mark on the playoffs.
The Atlanta Hawks have been driven to success by the herculean efforts of Trae Young, who has come into his own as a star in the NBA.
Young might be the most notable All-Star snub from 2021, and he has a chance to make those who snubbed him pay in the playoffs.
The New York Knicks were a team with incredibly low expectations, but the evolution of Julius Randle into an elite and unique player, solid contributions from around the roster, and the willingness of Tom Thibodeau to play his guys for extended periods of time got them into the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The Knicks and the Hawks are the fourth and fifth seeds in the Eastern Conference, and while the conference drops off dramatically after the third seed, each of them should be respected.
The online sportsbooks have this series as something close to even, but the Hawks are just slightly favored.
Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks Series Winner
- Atlanta Hawks -130
- New York Knicks +110
It’s easy to see a world in which the Knicks manage to win this series, but it’s hard to imagine one in which it isn’t close.
The Hawks and the Knicks had the exact same record in the regular season, with each team winning 41 games and losing 31.
The similarities don’t end there. Both teams are 7-3 in their last ten games. The Knicks and the Hawks have identical home/road splits as well.
Both teams went 25-11 at home, and 16-20 on the road, meaning both of them benefited significantly from playing at home - at the same rate!
This could mean that the series between the Knicks and the Hawks, given how evenly matched they seem to be, could come down to which team has the home court advantage.
Due to tiebreakers, that team is the Knicks, the fourth seed in the East. Is that enough to convince sports bettors to wager on them?
At the moment, it seems that it is not.
Game 1 of this series will kick off at 7:00 p.m. EST on TNT.