The Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks square off at the Barclays Center Sunday with each team trying to keep a grip on its spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Brooklyn will have gone five days without playing after beating the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday, while the struggling Hawks have a winnable game at home against the Phoenix Suns Friday night prior to their showdown in Brooklyn.

 

The Nets have won four of their last five games after hitting a bit of a rough patch and currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a straight-up record of 38-24. Meanwhile, the Hawks are in the midst of their own rough patch as they’ve gone 2-6 in their last eight games. A major cause for Atlanta’s recent struggles has been nagging injuries to two of its key players—Jeff Teague and Josh Smith. Both are listed as questionable against the Suns on Friday.

 

Atlanta currently holds the No. 7 spot in the East with a straight-up record of 35-29.

 

The Hawks and Nets played each other just over a week ago in Atlanta with the Nets securing an easy 93-80 win as a 3.5-point underdog. Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets scoring 18 points, 14 of which came in a key third quarter.

 

Atlanta desperately needs Teague and Smith back in the lineup if they are to turn things around before the playoffs. Both are nursing what’s described as “sprains,” so neither is expected to be out of action for an extended period of time. Smith is averaging 17.2 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Hawks, while Teague is averaging 14.5 points and seven rebounds at the point guard position.

 

Neither the Hawks or Nets have been particularly kind to bettors that have backed them in their NBA picks this season. Atlanta is 29-33-2 against the spread this season, while Brooklyn holds a mark of 30-32-3 against the number.