Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks (-1, 173.5)THE STORY:
The Boston Celtics look to close out the series and advance to the second round when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. Boston took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference showdown when it routed the Hawks 101-79 on Sunday in its best performance of the series. Atlanta faces a tough comeback trail since only eight teams in NBA history have recovered from a 3-1 deficit. Boston has won the last three games.TV:
8 p.m. ET, TNT, Comcast SportsNet New England (Boston), Sport South (Atlanta)ABOUT THE CELTICS:
The easy Game 4 victory in which Boston led by as many as 43 points gave coach Doc Rivers ample time to rest some of his beat-up players. Forward Paul Pierce re-injured his left knee midway through the second quarter but returned for a short time in the third. He had 24 points in just 17 minutes and doesn’t want to see the series return to Boston. “The NBA is a weird league and one game could give a team confidence,” Pierce said. “We hope that we can take them and advance in the series in the next game.” Guards Ray Allen (ankle) and Avery Bradley (shoulder) also are playing through injuries.
ABOUT THE HAWKS:
Center Al Harford played for the first time in nearly four months and performed decently in Game 4 considering his long stretch of inactivity. Horford had been sidelined with a torn pectoral and scored 12 points in 20 minutes. Forward Josh Smith returned after missing Game 3 with a knee injury and had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Joe Johnson was a non-factor with a series-low nine points during the team’s humbling performance. “We’re going to find out what we’re made of,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “There is nothing but Game 5 right now. That’s all we have to fight for right now.”TRENDS:
- The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Atlanta.
- The Celtics are 15-6-2 ATS in their last 23 games overall.
- The Hawks are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 playoff games as a favorite.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. Sunday’s debacle was Atlanta’s 12th playoff loss by 20 or more points since 2008.
2. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had 20 points, 16 assists and one turnover in Game 4 and is averaging 19 points and 13 assists in the series.
3. The Hawks are shooting just 38.5 percent from the field and 25.6 percent from 3-point range.Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers (-10.5, 179)
The Indiana Pacers can advance to the second round for the first time in seven years by beating the visiting Orlando Magic on Tuesday. Indiana has a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series after winning three straight games. Two wins were by double digits before the Pacers recorded a 101-99 overtime victory in Saturday’s Game 4. The Magic are seeking to become the ninth team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 deficit.TV:
7 p.m. ET, NBATV, Fox Sports Florida (Orlando), Fox Sports Indiana (Indiana)ABOUT THE MAGIC:
Orlando refused to roll over in Game 4 and rallied from a 19-point, final-quarter hole to force overtime. Jason Richardson scored 25 points for his second strong performance of the series. He had 17 points in the opening game before combining for just seven in the middle two games. Post player Glen Davis has been the Magic’s most productive player and is averaging 20 points and 9.5 rebounds. The Game 5 task is straightforward, according to guard Jameer Nelson. “We have to go up to Indiana and get one,” Nelson said. “It’s just one game at a time. You don’t get two wins at one time. You have to win one.”ABOUT THE PACERS:
Forward David West was ferocious in Game 4 with 26 points and 12 rebounds for his top performance of the series. West is averaging 16.8 points and 10 rebounds. “He’s just a beast in the post,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “He kept pounding them. He’d either score, of if they double-teamed him, he’d kick it out. We got some open 3s out of it. He’s quite a weapon.” Center Roy Hibbert has also fared well in the interior with Orlando center Dwight Howard sidelined. Hibbert is averaging 11 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.3 blocks and has recorded double-digit board efforts in all four games.TRENDS:
- The Magic are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
- The Pacers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
- The under is 5-1 in Orlando's last six games as an underdog.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. Indiana has outscored Orlando 108-60 in the third quarter.
2. Pacers forward Danny Granger scored 47 points in the two games in Orlando and is averaging 20.5 points in the series.
3. The Magic are shooting just 33.3 percent from 3-point range, with Nelson (3 for 17) and guard J.J. Redick (3 for 15) having the most trouble.Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers (-6, 199)THE STORY:
The Los Angeles Lakers can close out their first-round playoff series on their home floor when they host the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 Tuesday night. The Lakers took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a gritty four-point win in Denver on Sunday night, putting the Nuggets in the unenviable situation of having to beat Los Angeles three straight. “It's a powerful challenge. I don't think it's an impossible challenge," Nuggets coach George Karl said.TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Fox Sports WestABOUT THE NUGGETS:
Denver did not play well in any particular facet in Game 4, but still found itself in a tie game with only 66 seconds to play. The points that had come so easily off transition in Game 3 were scarce for the Nuggets, the league's highest-scoring team during the regular season. Point guard Ty Lawson was limited to 11 points after back-to-back 25-point outings. Danilo Gallinari finally broke out of his slump with a series-high 20 points, but Denver received only a combined 18 points from starters Arron Afflalo, Kenneth Faried and Timofey Mozgov.ABOUT THE LAKERS:
Los Angeles' reserves stepped up big time Sunday. Steve Blake scored eight of his 10 points in the final quarter, including a killer 3-pointer with 18.9 seconds that all but buried the Nuggets. Forward Jordan Hill added 12 points and 11 boards, marking the third time in the series he has reached double figures in rebounds. Such contributions cannot be minimized given the fact that the Lakers are getting next to nothing from Ron Artest fill-in Devin Ebanks and reserve Matt
Barnes, who have combined to score a total of 20 points in the last three games.TRENDS:
- The under is 35-17 in the last 52 meetings.
- The Nuggets are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up loss.
- The Lakers are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 home games.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant will be happy to return to the Staples Center. He struggled with his shot and scored 22 points in each game at Denver after erupting for 69 points in the first two games of the series.
2. Denver has trailed 3-1 in a playoffs series on 10 occasions and has lost all 10.
3. Lakers PG Ramon Sessions had missed 10 straight attempts from behind the arc until hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 4.Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls (-5, 171.5)THE STORY:
The Chicago Bulls are putting up a strong effort, they just don’t appear to have the weapons left. The Bulls will be looking to avoid becoming the fifth top seed in NBA history to lose an opening-round series when they host the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 on Tuesday. The 76ers have taken advantage of Derrick Rose being out of the lineup and have relied on big baskets from Jrue Holiday in taking the last three games.TV:
9:30 p.m. ET, CSN (Philadelphia), CSCH (Chicago), NBATVABOUT THE 76ERS:
While Rose being out of the lineup for Chicago has proven to be a huge advantage in Philadelphia’s favor, the team also made significant lineup changes after Game 1 that have paid dividends. Spencer Hawes moved into the starting lineup at center and has led the team in scoring in each of the last two games, going for 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting in Sunday’s Game 4 after posting 21 in Game 3. Evan Turner has moved into the shooting guard spot, which has allowed Holiday to attack the basket more - especially since Rose is not standing in front of him on defense. Holiday went 1 for 13 in the first half on Sunday but recovered to shoot 6 for 10 in the second half and score eight points in the final 4:13.
ABOUT THE BULLS:
Rose (knee) is out while starting center Joakim Noah (ankle) missed Game 4 and is day-to-day for the remainder of the series. Without Rose, Chicago has had no one to turn to for scoring late in games. All-Star Luol Deng has been bottled up by the Philadelphia defense, averaging eight points in the last three games, while C.J. Watson has struggled with his consistency in Rose’s starting point guard spot and Richard Hamilton has faded in second halves. Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson were strong on the inside in Game 4 but struggled to guard Hawes away from the basket.TRENDS:
- The over is 14-6-1 in the last 21 meetings.
- The Bulls are 0-4 ATS in their last four games as an underdog.
- The 76ers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall.BUZZER BEATERS:
1. Philadelphia has not won a playoff series since 2003.
2. The Bulls went to the free throw line 17 fewer times than the 76ers in Game 4.
3. The 76ers have shot under 40 percent from the field in each of the last two games but have won both.