The first round of the NBA Playoffs continues on Tuesday as the Boston Celtics travel south to take on the Atlanta Hawks in game 5 of their series. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on TNT. Currently the odds have Atlanta favored by 1 point with the total sitting at 173 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The Boston Celtics started off the season sluggish, and many people around league were questioning if the Celtics were getting a bit too long in the tooth to compete. Well the Celtics have come out strong in the second half of the season, and now Boston is in complete control of their first round playoff appearance as the Celtics are dominating the Hawks. Boston was able to rest most of its starters after leading by 27 points heading into the fourth quarter of Game 4. PG Rajon Rondo (19.0 PPG, 13.0 APG, 7.0 RPG in series) was incredible for the second straight game, following up a Game 3 triple-double with a 20-point, 16-assist effort on Sunday. SF Paul Pierce needed only 17 minutes to score 24 points (10-of-13 FG, 4-of-6 threes) after spraining his knee during pregame warmups. He’s probable to play in Game 5, which is good news for Boston considering he’s scored 27.0 PPG during the three-game win streak. PF Kevin Garnett didn’t have to do all that much on Sunday with just 13 points on 6-of-8 FG, but he’s had a strong series with 17.0 PPG (48% FG, 92% FT) and 10.5 RPG. SG Ray Allen (ankle) has played just 56 minutes in the series, but has made his presence felt with 12.5 PPG on 11-of-21 FG. The Atlanta Hawks have played well all season long as the Hawks have relied on their sixth ranked scoring defense to carry them to the playoffs. Now that the Hawks are here however, Atlanta finds themselves up against a wall as the Hawks are in a must win situation. Center Al Harford played for the first time in nearly four months and performed decently in Game 4 considering his long stretch of inactivity. Horford had been sidelined with a torn pectoral and scored 12 points in 20 minutes. Hawks PF Josh Smith played gallantly despite a sprained knee in Sunday’s game, posting 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. That gives him 17.7 PPG, 14.3 RPG and 4.7 APG for the series. PG Jeff Teague (15.8 PPG, 3.5 APG in series) is coming off a terrible Game 4 in which he scored just seven points with only three assists and two turnovers in 27 minutes. His 3-of-9 FG contributed to Atlanta finishing with 40.8% FG and 4-of-20 threes in the 101-79 drubbing. That drops the Hawks to 81.5 PPG on 38.5% FG (25.6% threes) for the series. Sunday’s debacle was Atlanta’s 12th playoff loss by 20 or more points since 2008. Boston has won three straight games in this series, and is now 7-3 (6-4 ATS) in the past 10 meetings with Atlanta. However, the Hawks are 24-11 at home this season, including 15-6 in the past 21 games at Philips Arena.
Free Pick: I like the Over in this one. This is a desperation game for the Hawks and you can bet they will not hold back with anything. They are not a running team but they can push the ball at times and they have scored 98.1 ppg at home on the year. The Celtics have struggled some on defense on the road where they have allowed 93.5 ppg, compared to allowing just 84.2 ppg at home. Atlanta is also a bit healthier with the return of Al Horford, which should lead to more points as well. the Celts are healthy on offense and really looked to push the tempo in their last game and they will do the same here as it was very effective and allowed they to put up 101 points in that game. Atlanta home games have averaged 191.5 ppg on the year, while Boston road games have averaged 184.4 ppg. With 10 of Atlanta's last 12 going over the total, ill look for the trend continue here, as the teams put up 180+.
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Betting Strategies: Hawks at CelticsHost Marco D'Angelo and Pregame Pro Vegas Runner discuss their thoughts on how the books are going to handle this series as well as each team's strengths and weaknesses along with their personal predictions on who will win.