The Atlanta Hawks are suffering from a serious power outage.
Monday night’s historically ugly 97-58 loss to the Chicago Bulls is not the way Hawks wanted to be perceived ahead of former franchise player Joe Johnson’s return to Atlanta Wednesday.
Johnson carried the load offensively for the Hawks, averaging nearly 21 points per game over the last seven seasons, but he was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets this past summer. The loss of Johnson has left a gaping hole in Atlanta’s offensive attack, a weakness that has been exposed recently.
Losers of seven of their last nine games, the Hawks (21-16 SU) are plummeting down the Eastern Conference standings. Atlanta has dropped six of its last seven overall (1-6 ATS) and is averaging a paltry 85 points per game during the skid - more than 10 points lower than its season average (95.4). The lack of buckets has also resulted in a 2-5 O/U record during that span.
Josh Smith is the team’s leading scorer with a mediocre 16.5 points per game, more than two points lower than his 18.8 average last season with Johnson in the lineup. Smith has been suspended by the Hawks for Wednesday's game for conduct detrimental to the team.
The Hawks picked up Louis Williams in the summer to add some punch off the bench and he hasn’t disappointed, averaging over 14 points. But the guard has only started in nine games and lacks the game-changing ability that Johnson brought to the table during his tenure in Atlanta.
Anthony Morrow, who was acquired in the Johnson deal, has been sidelined with a hip injury since Dec. 28, further adding to the team’s offensive drought.
Despite their recent woes, the Hawks are listed as early 3.5-point favorites with the total set at 190. Prior to action Tuesday, Atlanta is tied with Charlotte as the worst bet in the NBA at 14-22-1 ATS.