NBA Basketball Odds: Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks
Monday, March 19, 2012
Early last week, the Boston Celtics were right on the heels of the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference. A bad weekend for Boston and a strong showing for Atlanta has the Hawks sitting comfortable again.
The Celtics, who visit Atlanta on Monday, have not been able to find their defensive intensity on the road and will need to slow a team that has hit the century mark in two straight.
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, March 19, 2012
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CS New England (Celtics), SportSouth (Hawks)
Boston Celtics (23-21): Boston ranks toward the bottom of the league in scoring and rebounding, so it relies heavily on a defense that is supposed to be one of the best. That defense has taken some hits in the past two games as the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets have averaged 109 points in handing the Celtics back-to-back losses. Boston is surrendering 100.6 points through the first five games of an eight-game trip, up from its season average of 90.9. The Celtics were shut out in their efforts to acquire some help at the forward and center positions at the deadline and are expected to look for a player on a buy-out.
Atlanta Hawks (26-19): Atlanta has been using a smaller lineup lately, with Joe Johnson starting at the small forward spot and Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague in the backcourt. The quicker lineup has especially helped Johnson, who is faster than most forwards and now has less ball handling responsibilities. Johnson scored 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting in Sunday’s 103-87 victory at Cleveland and is averaging 28.8 points in the last four games. The Hawks, who are only slightly better than the Celtics in scoring average, have gone over 100 in four of the last five games using the three-guard set.
The Hawks only had 10 players available
Sunday with forward Vladimir Radmanovic (back), forward Marvin Williams (hip),
guard Willie Green (hamstring) and guard Jannero Pargo (stomach virus) all out.
All four are day-to-day.
2. Boston took two of three in the series last season but lost at Atlanta 88-83 on April 1.
3. Celtics forward Paul Pierce is nursing a sore right ankle but played 31 minutes at Denver.
NBA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Hawks 96, Celtics 89
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