#5 Boston Celtics vs. #4 Atlanta Hawks, Series tied 2-2 (8pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
Just a few days ago, it appeared the 2016 Boston Celtics were circling the drain. After losing Game 1 to the Hawks 102-101 after trailing by 19, they lost Game 2 in historic fashion by scoring just 7 points in the first quarter. But after a weekend of home cooking, the Celtics suddenly find themselves back in this thing, tied with the Hawks at 2 games apiece.
On Sunday, the Hawks’ Paul Millsap had himself a game for the ages, putting up 45 points on 19-of-31 shooting, while grabbing 13 boards and blocking 4 shots. But it was all for naught, as the Celtics suffocating defense held the rest of the Hawks to 26% shooting from the field, 24% from downtown. On offense, Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 28 points, while Marcus Smart played 42 huge minutes off the bench, scoring 20 points with 8 boards and 5 assists.
The Celtics took the lead 46-45 with 34 seconds to go in the first half, but Millsap 3-pointer put Atlanta back on top, and the Hawks came out to start the second half with score the first 14 points, for a 17-point run that put them up 62-46 with 7:58 to play in the third. But the Celtics Jonas Jerebko got hot, scoring 12 points over the next 9 minutes, including the field goal that put Boston back on top, 74-73. The fourth quarter would see four lead changes in all, before ending deadlocked at 92-92. OT was all Boston, as Atlanta made just 1 of 11 field goal attempts, while the Celtics Avery Johnson and Isaiah Thomas each scored 5 in the extra frame for a 104-95 win.
#7 Indiana Pacers vs. #2 Toronto Raptors, Series tied 2-2 (10:30pm ET Tuesday, TNT)
The Pacers stole home court advantage from the Raptors in Game 1 with a 100-90 victory, only to give it back in Game 3, a 101-85 loss. On Saturday, however, they managed to even the series with the most lopsided victory of this series, a 100-83 defeat of Toronto.
The Pacers’ D again did a great job shutting down the Raptors’ 1-2 punch of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, holding them to 20 points on 8-of-27 shooting, with as many turnovers, 9, as assists – during the regular season the guard duo combined for 45 points, 10 assists and 5 turnovers. The Pacers got everyone involved on offense as 10 guys scored 4 points or more, led by George Hill and Ian Mahinmi with 22 each, as the Pacers jumped out to a 12 point lead after the first quarter, and never let Toronto get within 10.