Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks (-8.5, 180)
New York leads series 3-1
The New York Knicks were an overtime away from completing a four-game
sweep of their first-round playoff series, but they can close out the
visiting Boston Celtics on Wednesday in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.
New York trailed at the half in the first two games and came storming
back from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to push Sunday's game past
regulation. ''We have to be confident going back home,'' Knicks star
Carmelo Anthony said after Game 4. ''We were confident here today.''
Knicks have plenty of reasons to feel supremely confident of ending the
series. Anthony had a dreadful shooting performance and second-leading
scorer J.R. Smith, the Sixth Man of the Year, missed Game 4 following a
suspension for elbowing Jason Terry in the face in Game 3. Terry exacted
his own revenge by scoring nine of his 18 points in overtime, but the
Celtics face long odds since no team in NBA history has ever overcome a
3-0 series deficit. '''Now we have to go into a hostile environment and
they're going to be trying to get it over with," Terry said after
Sunday's game. "They don't want to come back here, but we do.''
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT, Comcast SportsNet New England (Boston), MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE CELTICS:
Boston signed Terry in the offseason as a replacement for Ray Allen,
but the former Dallas standout had not given the Celtics much bang for
their buck until Sunday's overtime. Terry hit the biggest shot of the
series for Boston, burying a 3-pointer to put his team ahead for good.
He finished 7-of-10 in his best shooting performance in a month,
providing a needed offensive spark off the bench and adding another
option to go with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green. ''He's got
to be our X-factor,'' Pierce said. ''Guys are going to load up to me,
load up to Kevin, and he's got to be our X-factor and we depend on him
ABOUT THE KNICKS: The absence of Smith took
away one of New York's top offensive weapons, and Anthony tried to
compensate by hoisting up a season-high 35 shots and making only 10. He
still impacted the game tremendously by picking up a slew of fouls on
Boston's front court and getting to the free-throw line 20 times. ''We
didn't shoot the ball well,'' Anthony said, ''and we still put ourselves
in a position to win the basketball game. There's an upside to that.''
Guard Raymond Felton continued his outstanding series by erupting for 27
points, his highest output since early December, and is averaging 17.8
points through the first four games.
* Under is 6-1 in last seven meetings.
* Celtics are 4-9 ATS in last 13 road games.
* Knicks are 16-5 ATS in last 21 against the Eastern Conference.
* Under is 5-0 in Knicks' last five following two days rest.
* Under is 4-0 in Knicks' last four home games.
1. The Knicks have limited Boston to an average of 77.3 points in regulation in the series.
2. The Celtics have struggled in the second half, scoring more than 30 points once in the four games.
3. Anthony, the league's leading scorer during the regular season, is averaging 33 points.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers (-7, 187.5)
Best-of-seven series tied 2-2.
The Indiana Pacers have looked like two completely different teams based
on the venue in their first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks. The
Pacers will try to bust out the form that got them a 2-0 lead when the
series returns to Indiana for Game 5 on Wednesday. The Hawks were
dominated physically in the first two contests but found their rhythm at
home in back-to-back wins and will try to keep that aggression up on
The Pacers averaged 110 points in a pair of easy wins
at home in the first two games but slumped to an average of 80 points
while losing two on the road. They put up a better effort in Game 4,
keeping things within 10 points for most of the fourth quarter, but
could not keep up with Josh Smith. Atlanta switched to a bigger lineup
in Game 3 and kept it for Game 4, inserting center Johan Petro in the
starting lineup and using Ivan Johnson off the bench to team with Smith
and Al Horford.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports South (Atlanta), Fox Sports Indiana, NBA TV
ABOUT THE HAWKS:
Atlanta looked like a good candidate to be swept out of the first round
in after the opening two games but has brought a toughness in the last
two that the Pacers have struggled to match. It was Horford taking over
with 26 points and 16 rebounds in Game 3 and Smith doing the damage with
29 and 11 in Game 4. Those two staying strong on the offensive end is a
key to dealing with Indiana’s front line. The only time the Hawks
looked vulnerable in Game 4 was when Horford picked up a fourth foul and
had to go to the bench for an extended period in the third quarter,
allowing the Pacers to go on a 15-1 run and get back in the game. But
instead of folding Atlanta picked itself back up and never surrendered
the lead. “Energy and effort,” Smith said. “If we play with those two
words and play together - I take that back, three words - we’re a pretty
good basketball team.”
ABOUT THE PACERS: Indiana has the
memory of how well it played at home in Games 1 and 2 to keep its
spirits high. Paul George, who was the best player on the floor in the
first two games before struggling against Atlanta’s new lineup in Game
3, found his game again in the second half of Game 4 and had 18 points
and 10 rebounds after the break to finish with 21 and 12. Guard play was
the biggest problem in each of the games in Atlanta, as the starting
backcourt of Lance Stephenson and George Hill combined to go 10-of-39 in
the two contests. Hill had been 14-for-22 in the first two games,
including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc while Stephenson had scored 13
points on 5-of-9 shooting in Game 1 before taking a hard foul and being
limited to 18 minutes in Game 2.
* Over is 10-1 in Hawks' last 11 games following ATS win.
* Over is 9-1 in Hawks' last 10 road games.
* Pacers are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 vs. Eastern Conference
* Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Atlanta.
* Hawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six games playing on one days rest.
1. Kyle Korver’s 19 points off the bench on Monday matched the total from all four of Indiana’s reserves.
2. Indiana went 30-11 at home during the regular season and won the first two games by an average of 16 points.
George averaged 19.3 points at home on 44.6 percent shooting while
slipping to 15.6 on 39.1 percent on the road in the regular season.
Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (-8.5, 207.5)
Oklahoma City leads series 3-1.
The Houston Rockets avoided a sweep and head into a raucous
atmosphere in Oklahoma City as the Thunder again try to close out the
Western Conference series in Wednesday’s Game 5. Houston notched a
105-103 home victory on Monday and could really make things interesting
with another victory. The Oklahoma City fans are eager to serenade
Rockets rookie Patrick Beverley, who was involved in a play that caused
Thunder standout Russell Westbrook to suffer a season-ending knee injury
in Game 2.
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant had 38 points on
12-of-16 shooting in the Game 4 loss. He averaged 39.5 points in the two
games Westbrook missed and attempted to keep Monday’s defeat in
perspective. “No need to panic,” Durant said. “That’s only going to put
more pressure on us. That’s only going to make us feel worse.” Houston’s
James Harden had just 15 points in Game 4 and committed a franchise
playoff-record 10 turnovers. Forward Chandler Parsons was the go-to guy
with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. “We know we can play with
these guys and we know we can beat these guys,” Parsons said. “We’re
resilient and we’re never going to give up no matter how much we’re down
in a game and no matter how much we’re down in a series.”
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Comcast SportsNet Houston, Fox Sports Oklahoma
ABOUT THE ROCKETS: Beverley
will be greeted with jeers due to the Game 2 play in which Westbrook
was injured. Police are investigating a social-media death threat made
by an Oklahoma City ball boy and the pressure will be intense in Game 5.
Coach Kevin McHale feels Beverley can handle the challenging
atmosphere. “He’s a tough kid,” McHale said after Game 4. “He’s a tough,
hard-nose guy who’s not going to back down. He’s not afraid to take
shots, he’s not afraid to make shots and not afraid to make plays.”
Beverley has started the last three games and is averaging 12.3 points
in the series. He had 16 points in the Game 4 victory and took a key
charge on Durant in the final minute.
ABOUT THE THUNDER:
Second-year pro Reggie Jackson is averaging 16 points in two starts in
place of Westbrook. He was 7-of-18 shooting in Game 4 and missed a late
game-tying attempt. Forward Serge Ibaka missed the putback at the buzzer
and had his worst game of the series with eight points and five
rebounds. The scoring hole left by Westbrook’s absence hasn’t been
patched up but veteran Derek Fisher did his part with 12 points on four
3-pointers in Game 4. Guard Kevin Martin is averaging 13.5 points in the
series but shooting just 34.8 percent and has missed two-thirds or more
of his shots in three of the four games.
* Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Under is 4-1 in Rockets' last five games overall.
* Under is 4-0 in Thunder's last four home games.
* Thunder are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400.
1. Houston shot 44.4 percent from 3-point range in Game 4 after connecting on just 27.8 over the first three games.
2. Durant has scored 20 or more points in 30 consecutive playoff games.
3. Rockets PG Jeremy Lin (chest) is a game-time decision after sitting out Game 4.