Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers
Friday, 5/18/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Philadelphia -2.5
Current Betting Line: Philadelphia -2
Opening Total: 172.5
Current Total: 174
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Boston regained control of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series, capturing a 107-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers as two-point road underdogs in Game 3. “We ran into a Celtic team that has a real sense of purpose about them tonight,” commented 76ers head coach Doug Collins. The Celtics have three players averaging in double figures during the 2012 NBA playoffs, with center Kevin Garnett leading the way in scoring 20.3 points and grabbing 11.0 rebounds per game. Boston is 17-12 ATS as an underdog and the “under” is 17-12 in that situation.
The Celtics out-rebounded the 76ers by a 44-37 margin, while also outscoring them in the paint by seven points on Wednesday night. Boston controlled the tempo on the floor with Rajon Rondo piloting the offense, finishing with 23 points and 14 assists. His main target was Garnett, who hit 12 of 17 shots and finished with 27 points. There’s no doubt that the experienced roster holds a major edge over its youthful opponent the rest of the way.
Philadelphia has landed in a must-win situation in Game 4, as it needs to even the series at 2-2 before heading back to Boston. “It was a little embarrassing because you don’t want to put on a showing like that,” stated 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday about the 16-point defeat at home. He leads the team in averaging 16.7 points during the playoffs, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc, while the rest of the roster is making just 25 percent of its shots from the 3-point area. Philadelphia is 7-10 ATS as a home favorite of three or fewer points over the last two-plus years.
The 76ers are getting very little production out of forward Elton Brand, who has not played more than 18 minutes in any of the three games in this series. He is averaging 4.4 points on 30.2 percent shooting over his last seven contests. All-Star Andre Iguodala needs to continue attacking the rim, averaging 15.5 points per game over his last five contests, which is much better than the 10.4 points he was scoring in the first five contests.
Bettors will likely back the Celtics due to their 9-2-1 ATS mark as an underdog of 4.5 or fewer points, while the 76ers are 2-7 ATS as a home favorite in the same point range.
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