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Friday's Early Tips

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Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns an 8-1 record over the last three nights and his NBA picks have cashed at a 16-4 clip since April 25. For the season, Brian has a 105-73 record (59%, +25.66 units) in the NBA. Don't miss out on his five-game pick pack for tonight, including this pay-if-it-wins-only selection.

**Knicks at Celtics**

--As of early this afternoon, most books were listing New York (57-30 straight up, 48-37-2 against the spread) as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 181.5. Bettors can take the Celtics on the money line for a +105 return (risk $100 to win $105). The Knicks are favored by a half-point for first-half wagers.

--After losing the first three games of this best-of-seven series, Boston (43-43 SU, 39-44-3 ATS) has responded with back-to-back wins. The Celtics forced Game 6 by capturing a 92-86 win Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. They won outright as nine-point underdogs, hooking up money-line supporters with a payout in the +330 range (risk $100 to win $330). The 178 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 182-point total.

--Kevin Garnett was the catalyst in Boston’s Game 5 win in NYC. Garnett scored 16 points, pulled down 18 rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked a pair of shots. Jeff Green scored a team-high 18 points, while Brandon Bass and Jason Terry finished with 17 points apiece. Paul Pierce added 16 points.

--After being suspended for Game 4 and making moronic remarks about his absence in the overtime defeat at Boston, New York’s J.R. Smith was a non-factor in Game 5. The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year made only 3-of-14 shots and had as many turnovers (two) as assists (two). Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, in the Game 5 setback.

--Anthony is averaging 30.8 points per game in the series, but he missed 16 of his 24 shots from the field in Game 5.

--Boston has been a home underdog eight times this season, compiling a 5-3 spread record with four outright victories. The Celtics have taken the cash in four consecutive such spots.

--New York reserve forward Steve Novak is listed as ‘doubtful’ for Game 6 due to back spasms. The Marquette product is one of the Association’s best 3-point shooters. Novak averaged 6.6 points per game and buried 149 treys during the regular season. He has made 3-of-6 from behind the line in this series.

--These teams have faced each other four times this year in Boston. The Knicks are 3-1 both SU and ATS in those encounters.

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--The updated series price via Sportsbook.ag: New York -1000, Boston +700. The offshore website has the Knicks with the fourth-shortest odds to win the NBA title (15/1).

--The ‘under’ is 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these clubs, going 4-1 in this series. The lone ‘over’ came in Game 4 when the Celtics won a 97-90 decision in OT. The ‘under’ would’ve easily cashed if not for the extra session.

--The ‘under’ is 45-40-2 overall for the Knicks, 21-20-2 in their road assignments.

--The ‘over’ is 43-42-1 overall for Boston, 22-19-1 in its home games.

--Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

**Pacers at Hawks**

--The home team has won all five games in this series both SU and ATS. Indiana (52-34 SU, 45-41 ATS) took a 3-2 series lead by spanking Atlanta 106-83 as a 7.5-point home favorite on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The 189 combined points slithered ‘over’ the 187.5-point total.

--Indiana power forward David West scored a game-high 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field in Game 5. Paul George produced 21 points (7-8 FGs), 10 rebounds and five assists, while Roy Hibbert added 18 points and nine boards. The Pacers dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Hawks 51-28.

--Atlanta (46-41 SU, 39-46-2 ATS) shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in the Game 5 defeat. Al Horford and Josh Smith tied for team-high scoring honors with 14 points apiece. Just like in Game 2 at Indiana, Smith was in foul trouble early and often in Game 5, finishing with just 25 minutes of playing time.

--For Friday’s Game 6 at Philips Arena, most spots have the Hawks favored by two with a total of 188. The Pacers are +105 on the money line. Atlanta is a one-point ‘chalk’ and the total is 94 for first-half bets.

--Smith scored a postseason career-high 29 points in leading Atlanta to a 102-91 win as a 1.5-point home favorite in Game 4. The loss was the 13th straight for Indiana in Atlanta. The Pacers haven’t tasted a victory at Philips since 2006.

--The ‘over’ has cashed at a lucrative 4-1 clip in this series to date. In nine head-to-head meetings this year, the ‘over’ owns a 7-2 record.

--The ‘over’ is 46-40-1 overall for the Hawks this year, 23-20 in their home games.

--The ‘under’ is 43-42-1 overall for the Pacers, 23-19 in their road contests.

--Sportsbook.ag’s updated series price is Indiana -800 (risk $800 to win $100) with Atlanta available for a monster +600 return (risk $100 to win $600).

--ESPN2 will have the telecast at 7:05 p.m. Eastern.

  
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