Boston Celtics can finish off Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 on TNT Tuesday
The Boston Celtics stepped on the throats of the Atlanta Hawks early Sunday afternoon and never let off. The 101-79 final was much closer than the game ever was. The Celtics led by as many as 37 points in the third quarter. They were undervalued at the books because Josh Smith returned for Atlanta, but easily covered the 5.5-point spread as NBA lines home chalk.
Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass were the only Boston starters to play more than 30 minutes. Avery Bradley and Ray Allen, who are both nursing injuries, logged 19 minutes. The 36-year-old Kevin Garnett, who had played no fewer than 40 minutes in the first three games of the series, ran for 27 Sunday. Paul Pierce tweaked his knee in the first half and only played 17 minutes of Game 4, but still scored 24 points.
"It was good we played the way we did early. We've got to manage our bodies,” said Allen.
Needless to say, Boston will be rested and ready to finish off the Hawks in front of a nationally-televised TNT audience on Tuesday night.
Atlanta obviously has different ideas, especially now that its vocal leader and moral compass is back in action. Al Horford played for the first time in almost four months Sunday. He came off the bench and recorded 12 points in 20 minutes of action.
"It's disappointing for us to lose this way, but the good thing is we're going back home,” Horford said. “It's 3-1 and I'm sure a lot of people are writing us off already. But we feel pretty good about going back home."
NBA fans and bettors might ask, “Why?” Boston beat Atlanta on the road in their first regular-season matchup 79-76 as 2-point underdogs. The only regular season game the Hawks won at Philips Arena came when Rondo, Garnett, Pierce and Allen were out, and it was a close contest until the end. And then in Game 2 of the playoffs, the Celticsbeat the Hawks 87-80 on the road as 4.5-point pups when Rondo was suspended.
One of two things is going to happen Tuesday night: the Hawks are going to lament the beatdown they took in Game 4 and roll over to die, like they’ve done so many times over the last five years, or, they are going to come out peeved and send this series back to Beantown.
Sunday’s matchup went over the offered total of 171 because the C’s couldn’t miss in the first half. They scored 32 points in each of the first two quarters while shooting 64 percent from the floor, and then totaled 37 points in the second half after letting off the gas. Four of the seven meetings between these clubs this year have gone under and Game 3 didn’t because it went into overtime.
The oddsmakers aren’t putting a lot of faith in Atlanta. The NBA lines for this contest were first released by BookMaker sportsbook and the Celtics were 1.5-point dogs and have already been bet down to +1. The game total opened at 174.5. You can bet on this event live at BookMaker.
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