NBA Picks: Lock Celtics To Win +6 vs. Hawks In Game 2 Of The Season

Kevin Stott

Monday, April 18, 2016 7:27 PM GMT

Celtics suffered a huge blow in Game 1 and looks like Avery Bradley could miss the rest of this EC Quarterfinals series vs. Hawks which resumes with Game 2. Check out our NBA pick.

Odds Overview
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks [Wednesday 01:05] (TNT, Directv 245 (US), BT Sport 1 (UK), 7:05 p.m. EDT/4:05 p.m. PDT): Isaiah Thomas and the No. 5-seed Boston Celtics (48-34 SU, 21-20 Away in Regular Season) face Al Horford, Paul Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks (48-34 SU, 27-14 Home) in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round series at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Tuesday night as Boston looks to even up the series after rallying from a large deficit in the 2nd Half only to lost to the Hawks, 102-101 in Game 1 on Saturday.

With Avery Bradley (Hamstring) out, Sportsbooks have the host Hawks as 6-point favorites (Bookmaker) in this game with the Total (Points) at 205½ (Bookmaker). The NBA odds regarding moneyline (Winner) see host Atlanta priced at -245 (Bookmaker) with the visiting Celtics lined at +205 on the takeback as the appropriate Game 2 Road underdog.

 

Boston Celtics
The 5th-seeded Boston Celtics (43-39-1 ATS) and Head Coach Brad Stevens lost 102-101 to the Hawks in Game 1 after trailing 51-34 at Halftime, as the visitors used a strong 2nd Half to almost knock off Atlanta at Philips Center as Boston and steal the Home-court Advantage for this opening series between two pretty dead-even teams. Boston did cover the 5½-point spread as Underdogs, frustrating Atlanta backers who looked to have the right side until that deadly thing called Late-Game basketball intruded...as it always does.

In the Loss, Boston suffered a possibly series-changing Hamstring Injury to starting SG Avery Bradley (18 points) who could be missing the rest of the series (Out Indefinitely) and will force Boston Head Coach Stevens into an almost “Do I Go Big or Do I Go Small?” question from this point forward.

Bradley will be missed and it looks like his absence is reflected in the Point Spread by ½ to 1 point. Fellow backcourt-mate Isiah Thomas (27 points, 8 assists) led the charge for the Celtics (100/1 to win NBA championship, Coral), while Jae Crowder (18 points) had a big game and Reserves Marcus Smart (15 points) and Evan Turner (10 points) did their part and will now both be called on heavily with the former University of Texas product Bradley on the mend. C Jared Sullinger (9 points, 4-for-14 shooting) and PF Amir Johnson (4 points, 8 rebounds) will also have to add some more scoring to help offset some of the Offensive production Bradley brought, although it’s on the Defensive end of the court where Bradley may be one of, if not the best in the NBA.

Besides the Injury to Bradley—expect The Ohio State product Turner to take his Starting SG spot—Reserve C Kelly Olynyk (10.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg) re-aggravated his shoulder injury in Game 1 and is listed as Questionable here for Game 2 (he’ll go) while G Smart (Finger) had his Left Index Finger jammed and had it taped up at the Celtics (33/1 to win Eastern Conference, Ladbrokes) during Celtics practice at Georgia Tech (in Atlanta) on Sunday.

 

Atlanta Hawks
The 4th-seeded Atlanta Hawks (42-40-1 ATS) and Head Coach Mike Budenholzer played a typical Hawks and typical NBA game in the opener, looking great for a Half and then hanging on for dear frickin life as they looked like they could do nothing right in the 2nd Half.

And it seems even though he’s not “Injured-injured,” Atlanta has its own little problem at the SG spot with Kyle Korver who went 1-for-10 from the field and was off badly on many of his shots, an awful thing for a Sharp-shooter, especially during the Playoffs.

So the Rehab might not have worked and that black plastic sleeve which Korver wears to protect his Right shooting arm is obviously causing him to aim at the basket as his (old) natural shooting motion is limited by the support device (take it off)...and he is thinking way too much when shooting.

Korver being in a MegaFunk for Atlanta may be as bad as Bradley being out for Boston in its own strange way. And it’s hard to just correct something like that in live, real-time games, especially when your foes are playing for their Playoff lives. So watch the Korver thing as he is a major liability and will be scare to shoot if he goes like 1 for his next 5. He may have some Steve Sax in him.

In the victory, Atlanta (40/1 to win NBA championship, Coral) was led by big Al Horford (24 points), F Kent Bazemore (23 points), PG Jeff Teague (23 points) and Paul Millsap (14 points) and actually all four Starters outside of Korver shot really well (28-for-56, 50%) and Korver’s 1-for-10 shooting night weighed down the Hawks FG % (40.7).

Reserve Mike Scott (14 points, 5 rebounds) had a nice game off the Atlanta Bench but Dennis Schroeder provided absolutely  nothing (0 points) in 11 minutes of play while Thabo Sefolosha had just 2 in 22 minutes, so the Hawks Bench—which had just 2 points outside of Scott’s 14, Sefolosha’s 2—will have to do a better job and despite the way the series reads (Atlanta 1-0) and because of Bradley’s potential absence it seems Atlanta has the Momentum but in reality, Boston stole the Momentum, and almost the game on Saturday and are a very live dog here with Turner and Smart is more than capable of stepping up to the occasion. Injury-wise, Tiago Splitter (Hip) has been Out for the season for sometime for Atlanta.

Series Thoughts, Trends, Streaks, Recent Relevant Series Information, Turner Time and Game 2 NBA Pick
In the L11 meetings in this series, Atlanta is now a meaningless 6-5 ATS and has W3 of 4 ATS and is 8-3 SU. So Horford and this Atlanta (6-2 ATS L7 vs Atlantic Division) team may look like they have the edge in experience and current starting 5’s but Boston may have the edge in Bench/Depth and probably in the Heart Department.

And Heart really matters in Sports as well as the Culture and Expectations of an NBA city and Boston expects it more than Atlanta. Yearly. Some Trends that support backing Boston in this spot: Atlanta is 2-7 ATS L9 Overall, 2-6 ATS L8 vs Eastern Conference, 1-5 ATS L6 After ATS Loss and After a SU Loss and the Hawks are now 0-6 ATS after Allowing 100+ Previous Game while the Celtics are now 6-2 ATS their L8 games against the Eastern Conference.

But there some anti-Celtics Trends heading in here with Boston 3-14 ATS L17 on the Road Playing a Team with a Home Winning Percentage of over .600, 4-14 ATS L18 against a Road Team with a Winning Record at Home, 4-7 ATS L11 Overall and 4-7 ATS the L11 verssus a Team with SU Winning Record. But with 2nd Half rally and the ATS cover, the Celtics are now 2-4 ATS in their L6 Conference Quarterfinal (First Round) games.

A couple of Totals Trends: The Over is now 9-4 the L13 Hawks vs. Atlantic Division teams after the Under (206) in Game 1 and the Over is now 7-4 in the L11 Celtics games vs. a Team with a Winning Record.

Look for Boston play a much better 1st Half here and for Turner to plug in nicely for Bradley and for the Celtics to crash the Boards a little harder, knowing that an upset here in Atlanta on Tuesday in Game 2 would suddenly give them the Homecourt Advantage and all the Momentum heading back to Beantown for Game 3 (April 22, ESPN2) and Game 4 (April 24, TNT).

Boston will  need to keep SF Bazemore from being so productive as Horford, Millsap and Teague will usually gets theirs no matter what, so C’s Head Coach Stevens should have some kind of strategy to get a body on Bazemore and prevent him from adding those extra points that will (and did) put the Hawks over the top this weekend.

Expect electric Boston PG Thomas to try to put the team on his back and for guys like Johnson, Sullinger and Smart and especially Turner to all have very impressive games as this young team continues to grow a little night-in and night-out.

Final Score Prediction: Celtics 102 Hawks 98

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Free NBA Pick: Celtics +6 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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