Celtics vs Hawks Preview and Free Pick – Game 5

Boston (2-2) at Atlanta (2-2)
When: Tuesday, April 26th 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: TNT

Home court has held so far in the first four games as the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks go back to Philips Center in Atlanta for Game 5 of their first round playoff series. The Celtics have come back from a 2-0 deficit by winning the last two in Boston including a 104-95 win in Game 4 on Sunday – a game in which they trailed by 16 points in the second half. Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas had a tough time scoring in the first two games but came alive at home with 42 points in Game 3 and 28 in Game 4, including the last five of overtime. Guard Marcus Smart had his best game of the series Sunday, scoring 20 points and playing strong defense on All-Star forward Paul Millsap down the stretch and in overtime. Smart, who went 1-for-11 in Game 2 while starting in place of Avery Bradley (hamstring), was back to coming off the bench in the last two games but logged 42 minutes in Game 4 and scored 11 straight Boston points during a key stretch in the fourth quarter comeback. Center Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) went scoreless in four minutes off the bench on Sunday after missing the two previous games.

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The Hawks blew a big chance to put this series away with their fourth quarter collapse, but return home where they have won five straight and 12 of their last 14 overall going back to the regular season. Paul Millsap scored a career playoff-high 45 points in the 104-95 overtime loss but didn’t get a chance to take the final shot with a chance to win in regulation. Point guard Jeff Teague, who finished 4-of-18 from the field in the loss, had the ball in his hands with the clock winding down and fumbled it away at the last second with Thomas guarding him. Millsap has 11 blocked shots in the series, including four on Sunday. The Hawks were getting nice contributions from the bench in the first three games of the series, but had only 17 bench points Sunday. Outside of Millsap, the other four Hawks starters shot a combined 11-for-57 (19.2%).


I’ve said it all series long, the home team is going to win each game. It will be no different tonight. Look for Teague to rebound with a nice game and for the Hawks defense to clamp down with a fourth quarter lead, but seven points is an awful lot to lay. Atlanta wins by 5.

Pick: Celtics +7