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The Atlanta Hawks have the inside track at home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs; they just need to knock off Dallas on Thursday. The Mavericks will begin their title defense on the road, they’re just not sure where. Dallas Mavericks will either finish as the sixth or seventh seed in the Western Conference, putting them up against the third-seeded Los Angeles Lakers or second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.
Mavericks Hawks Betting
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, April 26, 2012
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSSW (Dallas), SSO (Atlanta)
Dallas Mavericks (36-29): Dallas is fighting with the Denver Nuggets for the sixth seed and owns the tiebreaker should the two finish with identical records. The Mavericks knocked off both the Lakers and Thunder en route to the title last season but would probably rather start with third-seeded Los Angeles, which will be without the suspended Metta World Peace for at least the first six games of the potential seven-game series. Dallas is coming off a 93-83 loss at Chicago on Saturday. Veteran guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd got plenty of rest in that game and the whole team should be fresh for Thursday, though the standings will likely dictate how much Rick Carlisle chooses to play Dirk Nowitzki and company.
Atlanta Hawks (39-26): Atlanta is a game up on the Boston Celtics and will get home court advantage despite being the fifth seed if they are able to keep that edge. The Celtics own the tiebreaker, so the Hawks need to win Thursday or have Boston lose to ensure that the series starts in Atlanta. The Hawks are coming off a 109-102 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, in which Joe Johnson hit six 3-pointers and led the way with 28 points. Atlanta had hoped to have center Al Horford (torn pectoral) back for the last week of the season and the playoffs, but the former All-Star has been ruled out for at least the first round.
1. Dallas has won in its last two trips to Atlanta and has taken three straight in the series.
2. Mavericks G Rodrigue Beaubois dislocated his finger on Saturday but stayed in the game.
3. Atlanta C Zaza Pachulia (foot) is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Mavericks 93, Hawks 88. CLICK HERE for 500 Handicappers Package FOR 5$