NBA Picks: Celtics To Keep Tempo & Hang With Hawks In Game Two

Charles Stark

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

In game one the Celtics made a huge comeback only to lose by one in Atlanta.  In game two the NBA Odds makers have set the line similar to game one. Will the Celtics get over the hump?

The NBA Odds have made Boston a +6 underdog with Avery Bradley out like at Bookmaker -110.  For one of my NBA picks I will back the Celtics to take this game to the wire again or possibly pull off the upset.  I anticipate they will springboard off their strong second half of game one.

Boston Celtics
In game one the Celtics shot just 36% from the field and 31% from distance below their yearly average of over 44% and over 33% respectively.  I was on the Hawks in game one and things looked good being up by 17 at the break but the Celtics simply would not quit.  Outscoring Atlanta 67-51 in the second half was really impressive and a testament to the resilience of this team and the coaching of Brad Stevens. 

They couldn’t get anything going in the first half but defensively they were solid holding Atlanta to some really respectable numbers and taking care of the ball on their end with only 10 turnovers.  As well, the Hawks got to the free throw line 16 more times than the Celtics and I am anticipating for this disparity to not be as big in game two. 

Tempo was a huge factor and although they did not shoot particularly well I think Boston can take solace in the fact they got the pace they wanted by putting up an incredible 102 shots compared to just 86 from Atlanta.  Bradley out hurts but if they can impose that same kind of pace it will put themselves in a good spot to pull the upset.

 

Atlanta Hawks
In game one Atlanta shot 41% from the floor and just 19% from distance well under their 45% and 36% respective full season average.  I can see the odds maker’s point of view that Atlanta is a solid six points better at home than Boston especially without Bradley, but it is hard to ignore the adjustments Boston made in the second half.  What should be a little disconcerting as well is that Boston played about as bad as they could the first half and still almost won the game. 

Defensively I thought Atlanta did about what was expected in keeping the Celtics to some pretty low shooting percentages.  However, as mentioned, the pace will be a major concern for this game as Boston led the league in attempts per game at just under 90 per contest and in the first game that got what they wanted by getting up over 100. 

As well, another point of contention was Atlanta’s poor overall shooting but getting bailed out at the free throw line.  If Boston implements the same type of game plan for game two this game should at worst go to the wire.  It won’t be easy without one of their best players but I like the Celtics to hang in tonight.

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NBAPick:  Celtics +6½ -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage