Thursday's nba info
5 Replies | 269 ViewsOn 05/10/2012 08:31 AM in NBA
Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics (-6, 174)
THE STORY: The Boston Celtics take a second stab at clinching their first-round series when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. Atlanta cut Boston’s lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference matchup by notching an 87-86 victory in Tuesday’s Game 5. The Hawks are vying to become the ninth team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit. The Celtics would like to wrap up the series at home and avoid a Game 7 in Atlanta on Saturday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, Sport South (Atlanta), Comcast SportsNet New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE HAWKS: Center Al Horford started for the first time in nearly four months and had 19 points and 11 rebounds and also hit the go-ahead basket. Horford played 41 minutes in his second game since tearing a pectoral muscle in January. Horford’s presence has bolstered a squad that looked ready to go quietly after forward Josh Smith missed Game 3 with a knee injury. Smith had 13 points and 16 rebounds in Game 5 and is averaging 16.5 points and 14.8 rebounds in the series. Guard Joe Johnson is averaging a team-leading 17.2 points despite shooting just 23.3 percent from 3-point range.
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Boston had a chance to clinch in the final seconds of Game 5 after Rajon Rondo stole an inbounds pass for his fifth steal of the contest, but the Celtics were unable to get off a shot as Rondo fumbled the ball. Rondo is averaging 17.5 points, 12.8 assists and four steals in the four games in which he has played. Forward Paul Pierce is struggling physically with his ailing left knee and had 16 points and is averaging a team-leading 21.8 points. Guard Ray Allen is playing well despite his ankle injury and averaging 13.3 points off the bench.
- The Hawks are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog.
- The Celtics are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games as a home favorite.
- Over is 17-5 in Hawks' last 22 overall.
1. Atlanta’s 87 points in Game 5 were its most in the series, while Boston has scored fewer than 86 points just once.
2. Hawks forward Marvin Williams was a big contributor in Game 5 with 15 points after scoring a total of 16 points over the first four games.
3. Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has just 12 combined rebounds over the last two games after averaging 12.3 per game over the first three contests.
Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers (-3, 169)
THE STORY: The Chicago Bulls stepped up on the verge of elimination Tuesday, turning in a stifling defensive effort to stay alive in the series. With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out, Luol Deng finally delivered an All-Star performance, burying key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finishing with a game-high 24 points as the Bulls pulled to within 3-2 in the series. The Philadelphia 76ers still have the advantage and will try to close it out at home in Game 6.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSCH (Chicago), CSN (Philadelphia), NBATV
ABOUT THE BULLS: Deng averaged eight points in the first three games without Rose but finally broke out in Game 5, becoming the offensive force that Chicago needed in the fourth quarter. Carlos Boozer was strong on the inside, scoring 12 of his 19 points in the third quarter to keep the Bulls clear and adding 13 rebounds. Chicago had another scary moment in the third quarter of Game 5, when Taj Gibson rolled his ankle and had to be taken to the locker room. The reserve forward returned in the fourth and is expected to play in Game 6. The Bulls are hoping to avoid becoming the fifth No. 1 seed to lose in the first round to a No. 8 seed.
ABOUT THE 76ERS: Philadelphia has not shot the ball well in any of the last three games but managed to pull out the first two thanks to some good execution down the stretch from Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala. The Bulls managed to slow those two on Tuesday, holding them to a combined 9 for 36 from the field. The 76ers scored just 26 points in the first half - the lowest half in franchise playoff history during the shot clock era. Spencer Hawes, who went over 20 points in Games 3 and 4, was held to 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting in Game 5 and was the focus of intense pressure by Boozer, Gibson and Omer Asik. Hawes ended up with a scratch on the left side of face running from his eye to his lip.
- The 76ers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- The Bulls are 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games.
- The under is 9-2 in the Bulls' last 11 overall.
1. Noah is questionable for Game 6.
2. The Bulls gave swingman Ronnie Brewer a series-high 29 minutes off the bench on Tuesday as a defensive stopper on Holiday, Iguodala and Evan Turner.
3. Philadelphia F Thaddeus Young, who averaged 12.8 points in the regular season, was held scoreless on Tuesday and has not reached double figures in any of the last four games.
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets (-1.5, 198)
THE STORY: Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum received a tutorial in his ongoing NBA education, watching the Denver Nuggets stave off elimination with a pulsating road win in Game 5. The Nuggets – admittedly fueled by Bynum's comments that close-out games can be easy – forced the series back to Denver for Game 6 on Thursday night and have a chance to deadlock the best-of-seven series at 3-3. Tuesday’s loss snapped a string of eight straight wins by the Lakers in potential close-out games.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, ALT
ABOUT THE LAKERS: A spectacular barrage of late 3-pointers by Kobe Bryant overshadowed a remarkably lackluster effort by Los Angeles in Game 5. While Bryant finished with 43 points, it speaks volumes to the Lakers' offensive inefficiency that reserve Matt Barnes took 14 shots – second only to Bryant. Barnes is 2 of 20 from behind the arc in the series, and the continued reliance on the perimeter game has prevented Los Angeles from exploiting its massive size advantage inside. Forward Pau Gasol's scoring average is down nearly five points from the regular season and his nine points in Game 5 marked the first time he failed to score in double figures since Jan. 22.
ABOUT THE NUGGETS: For those who thought backup center JaVale McGee's breakout performance in Game 3 was an aberration, guess again. The skywalking McGee scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. Equally impressive was the stunning contributions of backup point guard Andre Miller, who had 24 points and eight rebounds and ignited the run that allowed Nuggets to build a 15-point fourth-quarter lead. Another key development was the awakening of shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who scored 19 points. He had netted only 36 points in the first four games after averaging 18.7 points in the final month of the season.
- The Lakers are 9-19 ATS in their last 28 games overall.
- The Nuggets are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall.
- The under is 22-7 in the last 29 meetings.
1. In four games at the Pepsi Center this season, Bryant is shooting a mere 30.3 percent (30 of 99).
2. The Lakers had not lost a close-out playoff game since 2006 against Phoenix.
3. Teams facing a 3-1 deficit have come back to win a series only eight times in NBA history.