The Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic have put on quite a show over the course of the first four games of their NBA playoff betting series in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Magic are on the ropes though, and they need to win Game 5 at Amway Center on Tuesday night to keep their season alive.
Tip time on from the City Beautiful is slated for 4:30 p.m. (PT), and the game can be seen on NBA TV.
No one really gave the Hawks all that much credit in Game 3 or Game 4 at Phillips Arena, but that lack of confidence might have been just what the doctor ordered for them. Atlanta won both games as short underdogs on the NBA odds, and is now 6-2 SU and 8-0 ATS over the course of the eight meetings this season between these two squads.
Jamal Crawford might be coming off the bench, and he might not have more than 33 minutes played in a game in this series, but Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy and crew have to be getting tired of seeing him drain shots. Crawford just keeps nailing dagger after dagger for Atlanta, and is averaging 24.0 per game on the series, including dropping 25 on the Magic in Game 4 on Sunday. Joe Johnson has also scored at least 20 in three of the four games in this set.
The game plan for the Hawks seems to be to let Dwight Howard get all of the points and rebounds that he wants and to shut down the rest of the team. So far it has been a strategy that has worked absolutely beautifully.
Orlando, a team that averaged 99.2 PPG on the season, has come up at least 11 points shy of that average three games in a row in this series, and it hasn't come anywhere near that point total since the beginning of April.
Of course, Howard does deserve a ton of credit for the way that he has played. He has ultimately ended up in foul trouble basically in every game in this series, but he has still accounted for 46, 33, 21 and 29 points in the four games respectively to go with 19, 19, 15 and 17 rebounds. He also has seven blocked shots, but he does have an eye popping 26 turnovers in four games.
There have only been two players that have had a game of more than 14 points aside from Howard for the Magic, though. Gilbert Arenas, who didn't even come off of the bench for a single minute in Game 3, scored 20 points in Game 4, while Jameer Nelson put up 27 in Game 1.
Both Zaza Pachulia and Jason Richardson were suspended for Game 4 in this series, and both men will return to their respective lineups in Game 5.
Finishing off the Magic would make for some sweet revenge for an Atlanta team that was swept out of the postseason by Orlando last year. The Magic, who had a completely different composition of their team at the time, won that series by an aggregate of 111 points.
If Orlando does win Tuesday's contest, the two clubs will return to Philips Arena for Game 6 on Thursday.