June 9, 2023

Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter says Heat showed how to upset Celtics

Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter watched the No. 8-seeded Miami Heat eliminate the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of Wednesday night’s first-round series, and now the fourth overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft feels that his team can upset the Boston Celtics as well.

“They just showed [the template]. [Miami] played two play-in games,” Hunter said Thursday afternoon. “We played one. They got the No. 8 seed and beat the No. 1 seed, and I feel like we could do the same.”

Upon further review of a few NBA betting sites, the Hawks have eighth-shortest odds to win the championship. The Celtics are the clear-cut betting favorite to win this year’s title. A Boston elimination would favor the Philadelphia 76ers (+750) and New York Knicks (+1800) in the East.

After Miami’s 128-126 overtime win in Game 5 against the Bucks, the Heat became the first 8-seed to upset the 1-seed in the first round of the NBA playoffs since the Sixers defeated the Chicago Bulls (4-2) in 2012. For Game 6, the No. 7-seeded Hawks host the No.2-seeded Celtics on Thursday night inside State Farm Arena at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Furthermore, the Heat are the sixth 8-seed to defeat a 1-seed in a seven-game series in NBA playoffs history, also joining the Memphis Grizzlies over the San Antonio Spurs (4-2) in 2011, Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks (4-2) in 2007, Knicks against Heat (3-2) in 1999, and Denver Nuggets over Seattle SuperSonics (3-2) in 1994.

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter believes the Heat provided the perfect template on upsetting the Celtics

Trae Young scored the final 14 points in Atlanta’s Game 5 win at Boston. Since the 1998 playoffs, Young is only the fifth player to score his team’s final 14-plus points in a playoff game. The two-time All-Star also recorded his 10th career playoff game with at least 20 points and 10 assists, the most in Hawks postseason history.

Therefore, Young and Dejounte Murray will have to play lights out in Game 6. Sportsbooks show the Celtics as a seven-point favorite. Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, Boston has a 75% chance of defeating Atlanta at State Farm Arena. What’s the blueprint? Atlanta needs a Jimmy Butler-esque performance from either Young or Murray.

For notable betting trends for Game 6, the Celtics are 1-2 in their last three games. Boston is 8-4 in its previous 12 road games against Atlanta. Plus, the C’s are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 meetings vs. Eastern Conference opponents. More importantly, the point total has gone over in seven of Boston’s last nine encounters against Southeast Division opponents.

Meanwhile, the point total has gone over in eight of Atlanta’s past 11 contests. And the total has gone over in seven of the Hawks’ past 10 meetings against East teams. Moreover, the Hawks are 5-0 in their previous five games played on a Thursday, and 6-1 ATS in their last seven contests played on a Thursday. Of course, De’Andre Hunter scored 13 points in Game 5.

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