Atlanta (3-2) at Boston (2-3)
When: Thursday, April 28th 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The Atlanta Hawks will try and close out their series with the Boston Celtics as the two teams meet in Game 6 at TD Garden in Boston. The Hawks exploded in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of Game 5 en route to a 110-83 blowout win in Game 5. The Hawks trailed by 10 points midway through the second quarter before erupting for 70 points over the next 18 minutes of the game and coasting through the fourth quarter. Atlanta handed out a combined 21 assists in the second and third quarters on Tuesday and buried 11 of 14 3-pointers in the two quarters while surging into the lead. Kent Bazemore knocked down four 3-pointers to bounce back from a 2-of-10 effort in Game 4 and Atlanta got contributions from reserve forwards Kris Humphries (eight points in nine minutes in his first appearance of the series) and Mike Scott (17 points on 7-of-9 shooting). Al Horford continued to struggle in the series averaging just 6.3 points on 8-of-29 shooting in the last three games. Atlanta will be looking for its first road win in the series after dropping Games 3 and 4 in Boston (111-103, 104-95 OT).
The Celtics were already down 31 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5 when star guard Isaiah Thomas went up for a layup and rolled his ankle on the way down, effectively ending his night at seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. Thomas, who vows to play in Game 6, averaged 35 points in home wins in Games 3 and 4 and was the clear focus of the Hawks defense in Game 5, with two players trapping every time he had the ball. Boston shot 37.7% from the floor in Game 5, including 7-of-29 from 3-point range, and had no answer for the defensive pressure focused on Thomas. Marcus Smart will get a chance to step up his game again after posting 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Game 4. Evan Turner has also helped out averaging 16.3 points in the last three games. The Celtics and Hawks are vying to play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round – a team that swept both Atlanta and Boston in last year’s playoffs.
I’m still sticking with the home teams in this series, but I’m not as confident after Atlanta’s domination in Game 5. Thomas will play and his teammates will step it up to force a do-or-die Game 7.
Pick: Celtics +2