You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
THE STORY: Rajon Rondo will be stationed on the sidelines when the Boston Celtics visit the Atlanta Hawks in Tuesday’s Game 2 of the first-round series. The Boston point guard was given a one-game suspension for bumping into official Marc Davis late in the opening game, won 83-74 by the fifth-seeded Hawks. Atlanta built a 19-point lead and then held off a charge by the fourth-seeded Celtics and scored the final five points of the game after Rondo was ejected.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, Comcast SportsNet New England (Boston), Sport South (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Boston missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts as top outside shooter Ray Allen missed the game with an ankle injury. Forward Paul Pierce missed all six of his 3-pointers while struggling to 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting. Rondo had 20 points and 11 assists but lost his cool with 41 seconds left after a scramble for a loose ball led to a foul call on teammate Brandon Bass. “Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc,” Rondo said. “I deserved the first teach. As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot.”
ABOUT THE HAWKS: Atlanta could use a better outing from Joe Johnson after the All-Star guard/forward made just three of 15 shots in Game 1. Johnson missed all nine of his 3-point attempts and committed four turnovers while tallying just 11 points. The star of the opener was forward Josh Smith, who had 22 points and a personal playoff-best 18 rebounds. “He was an animal,” Atlanta coach Larry Drew said. “When he’s playing with that energy, he just makes us so much better.” The Hawks shot just 40.8 percent after opening the game by hitting 8 of 11 attempts.
- The over is 9-1 in Atlanta's last 10 home games.
- Boston is 13-5-2 against the spread in its last 20.
- The underdog is 4-1 against the number in the last five meetings between the two teams.
1. The home team won all seven games when Boston beat Atlanta in a 2008 first-round series.
2. Celtics forward Kevin Garnett overcame a 1-for-9 first half in Game 1 to finish with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
3. Hawks center Zaza Pachulia (foot) is expected to sit out Game 2 after being held of the opener.
Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls (-6.5, 176)
THE STORY: For a team that took Game 1 in convincing fashion, things could not be going much worse for the Chicago Bulls. With just 1:10 left in Game 1, reigning MVP Derrick Rose planted awkwardly and had to be helped off the court. An MRI revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament, knocking Rose out for the rest of the postseason. The Philadelphia 76ers are in a position to take advantage if they can find a way through the Bulls’ suffocating defense.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN (Philadelphia), CSCH (Chicago)
ABOUT THE 76ERS: Philadelphia was thoroughly outplayed in Game 1, shooting under 40 percent from the field while letting the Bulls go off at 51 percent. The 76ers were a sub-.500 team the second half of the season, going 16-22 after Feb. 13. Where Philadelphia excelled during the regular season was on the defensive end, and without Rose on the floor it will need to focus more attention on Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton The 76ers were outrebounded, 47-38, in Game 1, when rookie Lavoy Allen started at center and Spencer Hawes played only 15 minutes off the bench.
ABOUT THE BULLS: Chicago went 18-9 without Rose during the regular season and is confident that it has the defense and secondary scoring to survive without its star deep into playoffs. Splitting the point guard duties will be C.J. Watson and John Lucas III. Both players shoot just under 40 percent from beyond the arc and will need to keep that up to prevent Philadelphia from collapsing on Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah on the interior. One of the highlights from Game 1 came from Hamilton, who went 6 for 7 from the floor and finished with 19 points. Hamilton averaged 20.6 points in 120 career playoff games with the Detroit Pistons and will handle more of the scoring going forward.
- Chicago has covered in four straight.
- The home team has covered in five of the last seven meetings.
- The over is 7-1 in Philadelphia's last eight.
1. Rose is also out for the Olympics, leaving Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook as the top options for Team USA at point guard.
2. Philadelphia leading scorer Lou Williams was held to nine points on 1-of-6 shooting in Game 1.
3. The Bulls beat the 76ers, 89-80, without Rose on Mar. 17.
Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5, 200)
THE STORY: Andrew Bynum and Magic Johnson will forever be linked in Los Angeles Lakers playoff lore. Bynum's unexpected triple-double lifted the Lakers to an emphatic victory over Denver in Game 1 of their first-round series, and he'll look to continue his low-post dominance as Los Angeles hosts the Nuggets in Tuesday's second game. Bynum equaled an NBA postseason record with 10 blocked shots, forcing the Nuggets to abandon their layup-reliant offense and settle for jump shots that simply didn't fall.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Fox Sports West
ABOUT THE NUGGETS: Denver didn't go down quietly in Game 1 despite shooting a paltry 25.6 percent from the field. The Nuggets claim Bynum should have been whistled for repeated illegal defense violations, alleging the seven-footer spends far too much time in the painted area. Ty Lawson and Al Harrington were both blocked four times in the opening-game loss and combined to shoot just 7 for 25 from the floor. Connecting from long distance could be critical for the Nuggets, who made just four of 14 attempts from 3-point range in Game 1. The starting lineup combined to go 0 for 5 from beyond the arc.
ABOUT THE LAKERS: Despite Bynum's triple-double - the first by a Laker in the postseason since Johnson turned the trick in 1991 - a pair of forgettable incidents has taken some of the focus away from the Lakers' on-court performance. Small forward Metta World Peace remains on the sidelines after being suspended for a vicious elbow on Oklahoma City's James Harden, and power forward Jordan Hill faces an uncertain future after being charged with assaulting his girlfriend in Houston earlier this year. Hill, who came to the Lakers in a deadline deal with the Rockets, faces two-to-10 years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.
- Denver has covered in four of its last five.
- L.A. is 3-10 against the spread in its last 13 as a home favorite.
- The under is 35-17 in the last 52 meetings.
1. Bynum became just the second player to record a points-rebounds-blocks triple-double in playoff history.
2. Lakers G Kobe Bryant averages 25 points in 56 career games against the Nuggets. He had a game-high 31 in the opener.
3. Bynum left Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari awe-struck. "We've got to find a way to score before he gets in the paint, because he's impressive," Gallinari said.
The Tuesday NBA playoff card showcases three road teams looking to even up their respective series at 1-1 heading back home. However, the task is tall for the Celtics, 76ers, and Nuggets - all who lost by at least nine points in their series opener. We'll begin in Atlanta as the Hawks will face a Boston squad that is likely going to be down two starters.
Celtics at Hawks - 7:30 PM EST (NBA TV)
Atlanta held off a furious Boston rally that was cut short by a pair of technical fouls and the ejection of Celtics' point guard Rajon Rondo. The Hawks grabbed the series opener, 83-74 as 1 ½-point home favorites, while easily finishing 'under' the total of 179. The shooting on both sides was offensive, including Boston's 0-for-11 shooting from three-point range.
Prior to receiving the two techs, Rondo dished out 11 assists and co-led the Celtics with 20 points (along with Kevin Garnett), but Boston's bench scored just four points. Rondo is 'out' due to a one-game suspension for making contact with referee Marc Davis, while Ray Allen looks to return to the lineup after missing Game 1 with an ankle injury.
The Hawks' defense stepped up, but Atlanta was limited to 40% shooting from the floor in the series opener, including a 3-for-15 effort from leading scorer Joe Johnson (11 point). Josh Smith took care of the scoring and rebounding load by putting up 22 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds. Atlanta has advanced to the second round in each of the last three postseasons, while winning Game 1 in the opening round for the fourth straight season.
However, the Hawks are just 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS the last seven Game 2's in the postseason since 2008. The lone victory came in 2010 as a 7 ½-point home favorites against the Bucks in the first round, as only two of these seven games have come at Philips Arena. The Celtics own a 5-3 ATS record in the playoffs since 2008 on the road off a loss, including a pair of defeats to the Heat last May. The odds of Boston evening this series heading back to TD Garden aren't high, as the Celtics have put together a 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS mark this season as an away underdog off a defeat.
76ers at Bulls - 8:00 PM EST (TNT)
Chicago's championship hopes quickly buckled along with Derrick Rose's left knee in the Game 1 victory over Philadelphia. The Bulls cashed as 8 ½-point favorites in a 103-91 win, but the series took a turn when Rose torn his ACL while driving through the lane in the final minute on Saturday. Philadelphia still has a ways to go if it wants to win this series, as there is a glimmer of hope with Rose sidelined.
For the third time in four meetings this season, the Sixers placed five players in double-figures, but Philadelphia was held to 40% shooting from the floor. Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young shot the ball well (14-27 FG), but Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams need to step up in Game 2 after combining to go 4-for-17. Rose led the way for the Bulls with 23 points in the series opener, while Richard Hamilton returned to his old ways by putting up 19 points on an economical 6-for-7 from the floor.
The Sixers have sailed 'over' the total in six of the last seven games, including three of four matchups with the Bulls this season. Saturday's 'over' snapped a six-game 'under' streak for the Bulls, who finished the regular season at 15-11 to the 'under' without Rose in the lineup. VegasInsider.com handicapper Micah Roberts details Chicago's championship odds dropping to 12/1 from 4/1 at LVH right here, as the Bulls are 5-7 ATS this season as a home favorite off a home win.
Nuggets at Lakers - 10:30 PM EST (TNT)
In spite of Metta World Peace sitting out the first game of this series due to suspension, the Lakers cruised past Denver in Game 1, 103-88 as 4 ½-point favorites. Los Angeles jumped out to a 13-point advantage after one quarter, while all five Lakers' starters poured in double-figures. Kobe Bryant showed no ill-effects of a bruised shin that kept the Lakers' star sidelined for seven games down the stretch, as he scored a game-high 31 points.
Denver's young, dynamic backcourt of Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson combined for 16 points on 6-for-22 from the floor, as the Nuggets bricked their way to 35% shooting from the field. The Nuggets dropped to 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS against the Lakers this season, including three losses at Staples Center. The Lakers' defense has limited the Nuggets to below 100 points in all five meetings, while averaging 91.3 points per game in three trips to Los Angeles.
The Nuggets cashed in nine of 12 opportunities on the road off a loss this season, including a 7-2 ATS mark in the underdog role. The Lakers struggled towards the end of the season at home off a win, producing a meager 2-10 ATS record since March. Los Angeles has had problems covering in Game 2's of a series off a victory in the opener since 2009 by compiling a 5-2 SU and 2-5 ATS.