NBA playoffs odds for Boston look grim after game 2. Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver came out with guns blazing to lead his team to an 89-72 win and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference series against the Boston Celtics. Korver more than made up for his lackluster performance during game 1 – when went 1 of 10 and missed seven 3-point attempts – by scoring four 3-point shots in the first quarter, giving the Hawks an early 21-point lead. “We all have pride, right?” Korver said. “I wanted to come out and play better the second game” Not to take credit away from Korver et al, but it was like playing against barrels.
The Celtics scored just seven points in the first quarter, the lowest-scoring opening in an NBA playoff game since the shot clock was implemented in 1954 (the previous record was eight, set by Utah in 1988 against the Lakers and matched by Dallas in 2010 at San Antonio) and Boston’s lowest-scoring playoff quarter since the NBA started in 1949. “I don’t know what it is,” Boston’s Jae Crowder, who scored only two points on 1-of-9 shooting, said, “but we’ve got to change something.” Crowder’s teammates Isaiah Thomas – not to be confused with Isiah Thomas – was kept to 16 points on 4-of-15 shooting, going 1 of 6 beyond the arc, while Marcus Smart – who stepped in for the injured Avery Bradley – went 1 of 11, making just 1 of 6 from 3-point range.
The Celtics made just 3 of 23 shots and missed all six of its 3-point attempts. The Hawks made things particularly difficult on the undersized Celtics from close in, blocking six shots. Boston finished at 32% overall (28 of 88), 5 of 28 from long range. “We’ve got to figure it out,” Thomas said. “They’re playing good team defense. But we, as a coaching staff and as players, we’ve got to figure out a way to make it as easy as possible. Not just for myself, but for everybody on this team.” Boston’s first quarter was so bad that even after failing to score for the second half of the period, the Hawks still led 24-7. The remaining three quarters were academic.
Even though the Celtics are the basketball betting favorites at -165, Boston was expected to struggle as they were two key players short. Bradley, the team’s second-leading scorer, suffered strained hamstring in game 1 and is not likely to return the rest of the series. In addition to that, the Celtics discarded key backup Kelly Olynyk as a result of a lingering shoulder injury. The Hawks’ NBA playoffs odds to win the series are +145 heading toward Game 3 on Friday 22nd April 2016.