Following wins at home in Games 3 and 4, the Boston Celtics will be looking to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series with Atlanta when they travel for Game 5 against the Hawks on Tuesday as 7-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Celtics looked to be on the ropes early on in the series after dropping the first two games to the Hawks, including an 89-72 blowout loss in Game 2 in which they failed to cover as 6 1/2-point underdogs, extending their current straight-up losing streak in Atlanta to six games.
But Boston turned things around on home court, notching a 111-103 win in Game 3 as 3-point chalk before evening up the series with a 104-95 overtime victory Sunday to seize the momentum heading into Tuesday night’s Celtics vs. Hawks betting matchup at Philips Arena.
Marcus Smart emerged as the Game 4 hero, scoring 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics force overtime while effectively containing Atlanta forward Paul Millsap during the final minutes of regulation — on a night on which Millsap amassed a season-high 45 points.
The Celtics have now won 12 of their last 15 games against Atlanta on home court, but they must find a way to defeat the Hawks in Atlanta if they are to get past the first round for the first time since 2012.
Boston’s 102-101 Game 1 loss is the closest they have come to posting a win in Atlanta since picking up a 94-87 victory back in November 2013. Boston is 2-4 against the spread during its current stretch of road futility against the Hawks and is also a dismal 1-7 SU in its last eight postseason road dates in Atlanta.
The Hawks will be hungry for a taste of home cooking after extending their postseason SU losing streak in Boston to nine games with Sunday’s loss.
Atlanta enjoys home-court advantage in the series and will be eager to put a blown 16-point lead in Sunday’s loss in the past with a statement victory in Game 5 that would push Boston to the verge of elimination, potentially setting the stage for the Hawks’ first playoff series victory over the Celtics in 58 years.
The Hawks have been mediocre at best when returning home following a road loss, riding a 6-6 SU and 5-7 ATS run, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, but they have been tough to beat at Philips Arena in recent weeks, going 12-2 SU in their past 14 games there.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images