Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors (-6.5, 192)
Series ties 2-2
The Toronto Raptors continue to perform below the standard of a 56-win team and look to get their act together when they host the Indiana Pacers in Tuesday’s Game 5 of the first-round series. The Pacers posted an impressive 100-83 victory in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2 and a second win in Toronto would put seventh-seeded Indiana in the driver’s seat.
The main issue for the second-seeded Raptors continues to be the subpar play of the All-Star backcourt of point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan. Lowry is averaging just 15.5 points on 32.2 percent shooting and DeRozan is performing even worse with a 13.3 average and 29.6 percent shooting. “Give Indiana credit, they’ve done a good job on DeMar and Kyle,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “But we haven’t seen their best, they know that and it may not be by scoring points, it may be by moving the basketball, it may be by helping defensively.” Pacers All-Star forward Paul George has been superb in the series with a 26.3 average and finally received some help from his teammates as point guard George Hill (9-of-11 shooting) and center Ian Mahinmi (10 rebounds) each tallied 22 points in the Game 4 victory.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, TNT, Sportsnet (Toronto)
LINE HISTORY: The Raptors opened as seven-point favorites and the line was dropped slightly to -6.5. The total hit the board at 192 and hasn’t moved up to this point. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE PACERS (47-39, 43-42-1 ATS, 37-49 O/U): George’s 19 points on Saturday was his lowest output of the series but he was excited about receiving some offensive help along with the defensive effort that included twice holding Toronto to 16 points in a quarter. “This was how I wanted this team to respond, how I wanted us to respond to the Game 3 loss,” George told reporters. “I thought we were very pissed off and very attentive and very focused to even the series out. We knew we let one go in Game 3 and had a great opportunity to go up in the series.” Hill is averaging 17.5 points in the past two games while Mahinmi’s contributions were stunning after he averaged 4.3 points and four rebounds over the first three games.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (58-28, 47-39 ATS, 42-43-1 O/U): Lowry (12 points) and DeRozan (eight) were a combined 8-of-27 from the field in the Game 4 defeat and Toronto can’t find an offensive flow with both cornerstones shooting so poorly. “I would be lying to you if I said I’m not upset with how I’m playing,” Lowry told reporters. “But I have to stay positive and lead these guys – and that’s what I’m going to do no matter how I’m shooting the ball.” DeRozan’s aggressiveness is practically nonexistent as he has failed to attempt a free throw in two different games after averaging 8.4 attempts during the regular season.
* Pacers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Raptors are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
* Under is 6-0 in Pacers last 6 overall.
* Underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks (-7, 199.5)
Series ties 2-2
The Boston Celtics managed to even the series on their home floor and are hoping for the same effort when the series shifts to Atlanta for Game 5 on Tuesday. The Hawks let a 16-point, second-half lead slip away before falling in overtime in Game 4 but have won five straight and 12 of their last 14 games at home going back to the regular season.
Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas had a tough time scoring in the first two games but came alive at home with 42 points in Game 3 and 28 in Game 4, including the last five of overtime. “The most important thing for us: we’ve got to start the games better, especially on the road,” Thomas told reporters. “Start the games better, start the halves better, and I think that will put us in a position to be able to win those games. If we just start halfway decent on the road, we’ll be alright.” Atlanta is a veteran group and doesn’t plan on rolling over now that the momentum has shifted. “It’s our turn to respond, that’s how the playoffs are,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters. “They are hard and it’s never easy in the playoffs. … I think being at home is always helpful and I think our group knows that they are very capable.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
LINE HISTORY: The Hawks opened as 6.5-point favorites at home for this pivotal Game 5 and the line was quickly bet up to -7. The total opened at 201 and was dropped down to 199.5 by Monday evening. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (50-36, 45-40-1 ATS, 40-46 O/U): Guard Marcus Smart broke out with his best game of the series on both ends of the floor Sunday, scoring 20 points and playing strong defense on All-Star forward Paul Millsap down the stretch and in overtime. Smart, who went 1-for-11 in Game 2 while starting in place of Avery Bradley (hamstring), was back to coming off the bench in the last two games but logged 42 minutes in Game 4 and scored 11 straight Boston points during a key stretch in the fourth quarter. “I thought Marcus just played a great game, period,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “We’ve talked about it before, Marcus has had his ups and downs but Marcus on this stage – and with his consistent work ethic and with his competitive spirit – you just really trust that good things will happen.”
ABOUT THE HAWKS (50-36, 43-42-1 ATS, 39-47 O/U): Millsap scored a career playoff-high 45 points in the 104-95 overtime loss but didn’t get a chance to take the final shot with a chance to win in regulation. Point guard Jeff Teague, who finished 4-of-18 from the field in the loss, had the ball in his hands with the clock winding down and fumbled it away at the last second with Thomas guarding. “You want to exhaust the clock in that situation, you want to take the last shot and I think Jeff just ended up mishandling it a little bit,” Budenholzer said. “But that was Jeff against (5-9) Isaiah Thomas and, you know, you obviously try to get a good look, get a good opportunity and not leave any time on the clock.”
* Celtics are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Hawks are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
* Under is 11-1 in Celtics last 12 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 6-0 in Hawks last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
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