Celtics vs. Hawks Pick NBA – April 9th

Even with the Rockets going into the tank, Utah failed to solidify their playoff spot last night, losing at home in overtime to the Clippers B-Team.  No Paul, Griffin, Redick, or DeAndre – yet the Jazz still couldn’t put away the Clippers, even at home.  If the Jazz do end up blowing their playoff spot, letting Cole Aldridge go for 21 and 18 on your home floor is going to sting all summer long.

Meanwhile, out East the pacers fell at Toronto while the Pistons won at home against Washington, pulling the Pistons a half-game ahead for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference (they are tied in the loss column).  The Pistons have the tougher schedule the rest of the way, with games against Miami and at Cleveland remaining, while the Pacers have the Nets, Knicks and at Milwaukee.  The most interesting thing is that Cleveland might have some control over their first round opponent – if they care.  They will likely be able to tilt the matchup to the one of their choosing by deciding whether or not they TRY to beat the pistons at home…

We came up one late bucket short last night as the Magic finally got one over on the Heat.  Let’s see if we can bounce back tonight with a winner.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks -5.5

The Celtics and Hawks are dead even in the standings at 42-37, making tonight’s game a pivotal one as the third through sixth seeds in the East remain very fluid.  Atlanta has the obvious edge being at home tonight, but the Celtics are a capable road team – just ask Golden State.  The Celtics are 20-20 on the road on the season.

However, they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games and 1-4 ATS on the road.  They already lost at Atlanta this season by close to 30 and also lost the return game in Boston 109-101.  Boston is 2-5 in their last seven games against the Hawks and has lost four of their last five in Atlanta.

Atlanta has scuffled lately against the spread as well, going just 1-4 ATS in their last five.  But overall, they have played pretty good basketball lately.  They have won 11 of 14 overall and nine of their last eleven home games.  They are also rested while Boston is playing the second game on a back-to-back.  All the matchup trends favor the Hawks, as does the fact they enter tonight on a day’s rest while Boston is likely to have some more tired legs.  Road teams rarely win back-to-backs against good teams who are on rest.  The five points is a decent amount to lay, but Atlanta has covered both games against the C’s this season with relative ease.  I’ll take them to do the same tonight at home.

Free Pick: Atlanta Hawks -5.5

Chris Scheeren / Author