NBA Handicapping Predictions – Hawks vs Celtics
The Atlanta Hawks staved off elimination earlier this week, but Boston returns home to try to finish off this series on Thursday night.
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NBA Basketball Matchup: #5 Atlanta Hawks (2-3) vs. #4 Boston Celtics (3-2)
Date/Time: May 11, 8:00 PM EST on TNT
NBA Gambling Odds from Bovada
NBA Betting Favorite: Celtics -6.5
Al Horford’s return really gave the Hawks a major boost in Game Five. Boston doesn’t want any part of going back to Atlanta for a Game Seven. Can the veteran Celtics finish off the Hawks?
Many thought Al Horford wouldn’t be able to play in this series, but he came in and was the team’s most valuable player in Game Five.
Horford had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the game. His presence is felt in a big way on both ends of the floor, and he gives the Hawks a clear advantage in the frontcourt in this series.
Josh Smith has struggled with his shot of late, but he has been doing other things well to help the team win. Jeff Teague has turned into a very nice point guard for this team, and he is capable of carrying the team for stretches. The key for Atlanta is finding a way to keep Rondo out of the lane.
Rajon Rondo is an assists machine this year, and he has been carving up the Hawks defense throughout this series. Rondo has bumped his scoring average up to 17.5 points per game during the playoffs. Paul Pierce has been the leading scorer for this team all year, and he is averaging 21.8 points per game.
He struggled last game and the offense suffered because of his trouble getting to the basket. Kevin Garnett isn’t capable of carrying the load any more, but he is still a very good power forward. Brandon Bass has given this team some terrific minutes in this series.
The Celtics have the best defense in the NBA, and they’ll need that to carry them to a series victory.
Elimination games tend to be very low scoring, and I don’t see either offense lighting it up here. Look for this one to stay under the total.
Free NBA Pick: Under 174