The first round of the NBA Playoffs continues on Sunday as the Atlanta Hawks travel north to take on the Boston Celtics in game 4 of their series. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on TNT. Currently the odds have Boston favored by 5.5 points with the total sitting at 171.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The Hawks hope to have their best player back on the court when they attempt to even their series in Boston on Sunday night. PF Josh Smith (19.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 4.5 APG in series) missed Friday’s Game 3 with a sprained knee, but expects to play on Sunday. How effective he’ll be is anybody’s guess, since this appears to be a pretty significant injury. Atlanta has scored just 82.3 PPG on 37.8% FG in this series, but is a solid 17-17 SU (19-13-2 ATS) on the road, and also plays strong defense, holding the Celtics to 83.7 PPG on 40.6% FG in this series. SG Joe Johnson has scored 20.7 PPG and 4.0 APG in the series, but he’s shooting just 35% FG and 25% threes (6-for-24). PG Jeff Teague (18.7 PPG in series) is coming off a huge Game 3 where he scored 23 points (9-of-16 FG) with six assists and four rebounds in his 47 minutes of action. With Smith injured, SF Marvin Williams and SF Tracy McGrady were his two replacements. Williams finished with just three points (but 11 boards) in 20 minutes and McGrady shot a subpar 5-of-14 FG with nine rebounds in 41 minutes of action off the bench. The Celtics are finally at full strength though, as SG Ray Allen (ankle) played Friday for the first time since April 10, scoring 13 points in 37 minutes of action off the bench in his team’s thrilling 90-84 overtime win. Boston also saw the return of PG Rajon Rondo (suspension for Game 2) on Friday, and Rondo was clearly the best player on the floor with 17 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals. The Celtics are now 25-9 SU (18-16 ATS) at home this season with a stellar team defense allowing visitors to score just 84.4 PPG on 40.3% FG. SF Paul Pierce scored 36 points (12-of-26 FG, 11-of-13 FT) with 14 rebounds and four assists in Game 2, but he struggled on Friday with his shot (3-of-12 FG) and had nearly as many turnovers (four) as rebounds (five) in his 47 minutes on the court. He now has 12 turnovers in the past two contests. PF Kevin Garnett posted his third straight double-double (20 points, 13 boards) in Game 3 while tallying five blocks on the defensive end.
Free Pick: I like the over in this one. Boston doesn't really push the tempo, but they do a little more with Rondo at the help and they should look to push it here vs an Atlanta team that is not that deep. The Celts are at full strength on offense with the return of Ray Allen and that should lead to more points, especially from down town. The hawks should also get a boost, offensively, with the return of Josh Smith who has 19 ppg in the series thus far and is by far the Hawks best offensive threat. Both teams play great defense, but I feel this could be a close one that should lead to FT's or OT at the end, plus with both teams being healthier for this one I expect a slight faster paced game as well. Should hit mid 170's.
$25 of picks FREE! No Obligation - No Credit Card Required - Becoming a member is Fast and Free!
Betting Strategies: Hawks at Celtics
Host 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.