NBA Playoffs Vegas Odds: Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics with Rajon Rondo
Thursday, May 03, 2012
by Bovada Sportsbook
The Atlanta Hawks missed a golden opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Boston Celtics on Tuesday night as the Celtics were without both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen.
Rondo was suspended for Game 2 after bumping a referee near the end of Boston’s Game 1 loss but will return. Allen has missed the past 11 games with an ankle injury but went through a full practice on Thursday and just might play – he is expected to be a game-time call as he was in the first two games.
Atlanta looked like it would take advantage of Boston’s missing stars, taking an 11-point second-half lead and still up by five heading into the fourth quarter on Tuesday night. But the Hawks had six turnovers and just four field goals in the final quarter and the Celtics’ Paul Pierce by himself outscored Atlanta 18-15 over the last 15:08 of the game as Boston won 87-80 as 4-point underdogs. Pierce had 36 points – after just 12 in Game 1 – and 14 rebounds to lead Boston.
The Hawks’ best player in this series has been forward Josh Smith and he had 16 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2, but he left with a little more than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Smith was diagnosed with a strained tendon in his left knee and is being called doubtful for Friday. He said he felt a little better Thursday but that it was still sore. A decision on his status will be made on Friday morning. If Smith sits, rookie forward Ivan Johnson likely will get more minutes (and could start). So might Marvin Williams, Vladimir Radmanovich and even Tracy McGrady, who played only six minutes in Game 2.
Atlanta already is severely shorthanded in the frontcourt without injured center Al Horford (out since early in season) and backup Zaza Pachulia, who has now been all but ruled out of this series after missing the first two games. That means former benchwarmer Jason Collins will have to start again at center for the Hawks.
The Celtics and Hawks played once in Boston during the regular season, with the home team winning 88-86 in overtime (Allen sat that one out). Rondo dominated with a triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 20 assists. Atlanta’s Smith had 20 points and 11 boards. The underdog Hawks covered – barely -- in that game and the dog has covered in five of the past six games between these teams.
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