I’m writing this before the conclusion of the West Coast games from tonight (or last night, as you are reading this), so I don’t know whether to gloat or hide from last night’s UNDER pick in Golden State. Odds are, you DO know the appropriate reaction, so please assume I am experiencing it right now…
In the meantime, we have some more business to take care of with tonight’s playoff slate of action. There is just one game on the schedule, but it is the first potential closeout game of a series of note in the 2016 Playoffs. Boston looked as inept as a team can possibly look in Game Five. But they also looed inept in Game Two only to come back and win BOTH games in Boston to knot the series at 2-2. So do they have another last stand in them tonight or will injuries and an experience deficit finally prove to be too much to overcome. I predicted a good series, mainly because I thought Brad Stevens might win the C’s one game in the series. I think he might have already done that in Game Four… So… what to expect tonight??
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Today’s Free Pick:
Atlanta Hawks -2 at Boston Celtics (Total: 197)
It’s tough to shake the lingering horror of Game Five of you are a Boston fan. Especially when you consider that a ridiculously overwhelming number of Game Five winners in a 2-2 series go on to win the series, it was a really bad time to play really, really badly. The 110-83 score doesn’t do the lack of competitiveness proper justice. The game was over by halftime and just got worse and worse with a 42-23 kidney punch third quarter.
But, all that aside. This IS a pair of teams with identical season record. The home team IS 5-0 in this series. And it is never easy to close out a team, especially on their home floor. Isaiah Thomas is rumored to be a little banged up, but he is suiting up, and with his offensive production in the series, that gives the C’s a fighting chance. The games have been closer in Boston than they have in Atlanta (Game One, pre-Bradley injury excepted) but Boston has still won both at home.
I’ll call this pick 50% faith in Brad Stevens to find one more rabbit in the hat an 50% thinking Atlanta lacks the killer instinct and zip from last season. This just isn’t the same team that earned the #1 seed last year, despite largely the same roster.
Look for another close game, but for Boston to find some resolve on their home floor that was severely lacking in Game Five in Atlanta. The Hawks were just a .500 team on the road this season. They still win this series, but I think they’ll have to return to the ATL in order to accomplish that aim.