Game 1 at Boston
Hawks +15 vs Celtics (189)
The Fleet Center will be rocking as the Boston Celtics being what they hope is their first trip to the NBA Finals since the Larry Bird era two decades ago. The Celtics won 66 games and had the best record in the NBA, while Atlanta finished eight under .500 and 29 games behind Boston in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks lost all three meetings to Boston by convincing margins and will be hard-pressed to turn things around in this best-of-seven series.
Boston was a stellar 50-27 against the spread and made the single biggest improvement over one season in NBA history with the acquisition of Kevin Garnett from Minnesota and Ray Allen from Seattle to join Paul Pierce. The Celtics finished on an 8-1 run, going 5-1 ATS with no lines on the other two contests. One of the wins was a 99-89 decision over Atlanta in a game the Hawks needed to secure the No. 8 seed. The victory came with Boston resting most of its starters. Atlanta backed into the playoffs, losing three straight and four of its last five. The Celts will not want to give Atlanta any hope so expect a full assault before a packed house. CELTICS.