NBA Game Preview – Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks

Pointspread: Boston -1.5 – Over/Under: 179.5 Lines provided by VietBet.Com

The Boston Celtics continue their push towards the postseason when they take on the Atlanta Hawks in an Eastern Conference matchup tonight at Philips Arena. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Boston has hardly looked like a team that is ready for the playoffs with just two wins in their last five games. The Celtics followed up a 107-100 loss to Indiana this past Monday as a 1 ½-point road favorite with a 107-97 victory over the wounded San Antonio Spurs as a 1 ½-point road underdog last night. They are now 52-22 straight-up overall (34-38-2 against the spread) and two games behind Chicago for the top spot in the East.

The Celtics have averaged just 88.5 points over their past 12 games after averaging 98.2 points on the year. Their 44.5 percent shooting from the field has also been a far cry from their league-leading 48.6 percent season average. Paul Pierce continues to lead the team in scoring with 18.7 points a game and Rajon Rondo is averaging 11.3 assists a game, which is second-best in the NBA.

Atlanta is 43-32 SU (35-40 ATS) after a huge 85-82 win over Orlando on Wednesday night as a 3 ½-point home underdog. It is pretty much set for the playoffs in fifth-place in the East. It is four games behind the Magic, which are in fourth place and has a four-game lead over sixth-place Philadelphia. The goal for the Hawks over their final seven regular season games is to build some momentum heading into the postseason.

Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford continue to lead the way for Atlanta accounting for close to 55 percent of the team’s points this season. The Hawks are averaging 95 points a game, while giving up the exact same amount on defense. They are shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three-point range.

Head-to-head, the Hawks have won four of the last six games SU, but the Celtics have won the two prior meetings this season. They hammered Atlanta 99-76 in November as a three-point road underdog and came away with a 102-90 win as a seven-point home favorite in December.

Boston needs this game much more than Atlanta and will ratchet things up enough to come away with the win on the road.

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