Atlanta vs Boston NBA Odds Analysis
It has been 28 years since the Hawks and Celtics met in the Eastern Conference playoffs featuring two of the biggest stars of all time, Dominique Wilkins for the Hawks and Larry Bird for the Celtics. They met in the semifinals that year, going all the way to seven games. In that elimination game, Wilkins went off for 47 points, but Bird poured in 20 just in the fourth quarter to lead the Celtics to a win. This year, the Hawks hold the #4 seed and the Celtics hold the #5 seed, and neither team comes in with the sort of dominant star that grabs headlines. This will be another closely fought series between two similar teams, who operate as smoothly functioning units rather than supporting casts gathered around a star or two. Find out the latest NBA betting odds here.
Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics NBA Odds Analysis
Why should you bet on Atlanta to win?
Atlanta won the season series between these two teams, 3-1, including the last three games (most recently on April 9). In that game, the Hawks allowed the Celtics 71 points in the first half but then held them to just 36 after the intermission, cruising to a 118-107 victory. Paul Millsap has established himself as a Celtic nemesis this year, pouring in 31 points and grabbing 16 points in that game. He also scored 15 points in the fourth quarter on December 18, when the Hawks beat Boston 109-101. With Jeff Teague running the point, the Hawks have a good chance to win this series, as the team flows more smoothly when he is playing well, giving Paul Millsap and Al Horford the freedom to move around without the ball instead of having to create their own shots out of nothing.
Why should you put your money on the Celtics to win?
Boston needs to dominate the paint to win this series. Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger are not dominant big men, but they can combine to grind the other team down. Johnson is a terrific shot blocker and dominates the rim on defense. Sullinger is the best scorer in the low post, and Olynyk has the most mobility. The Hawks don’t really have a true two-way center, which means there is room in the middle for the Hawks to score on Boston. This is also a time for Marcus Smart to show that he has values for the Celtics. He has beeen in Boston two years and is a 35 percent shooter overall (25% 3pt-FG). If he can use the playoffs as a time to shine, the Celtics could role. Evan Turner has grown mightily in Brad Stevens’ estimation, and Kent Bazemore has added the short-corner three as part of his repertoire.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
Atlanta has worked hard to overcome their Eastern Conference final disappointment last season. However, Boston has a higher ceiling on offense and has simply dominated teams on defense this year. I’m predicting Boston in six.