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Hawks Favored Big in Game 7

The winner moves on while the loser is finished today when the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks face off in a deciding Game 7 of their opening-round playoff series. The Hawks are favored big to win big on NBA playoff odds menus everywhere. The Bucks had a chance to finish off the Hawks in Game 6 on Friday night, but they came out totally flat in an 83-69 loss as 1.5-point home underdogs at Bovada. Atlanta lived to play in Game 7 after Jamal Crawford finally found his shot.

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The NBA’s sixth man of the year netted a game-high 24 points, up from the lousy 11 points he had in Game 5. Joe Johnson chipped in with 24 points and Al Horford had a strong game with 15 points and 15 rebounds. The Hawks still only shot 38% in the win, but the Bucks were even worse. Milwaukee’s two biggest offensive weapons shot blanks in Game 6, as Brandon Jennings and John Salmons both choked in what could have been the Bucks’ clincher. Jennings scored 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting and Salmons had a paltry eight points on a pathetic 2-of-13 shooting. The only Bucks player that held it together was Carlos Delfino with 20 points. That wasn’t nearly enough with Milwaukee shooting 33% as a team.

Game 7 goes this afternoon in Atlanta, so the Hawks are a 9-point favorite to win and advance. The first four games of this series all went to the home team, but the visitors came out victorious in both Games 5 and 6. The Bucks have to hope the road team success continues or their season is over.

The only other game on the schedule today is the beginning of the second round series between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers. Utah knocked off Denver with a 112-104 win in Game 6 on Friday night. Carlos Boozer was a force in the win with 22 points and 20 rebounds, while Deron Williams concluded what was a superb series with 14 points and 10 rebounds and a scary injury. Williams was by far the Jazz’s most consistent player in the opening round, but his status for today’s game is in doubt after he suffered a bruised left elbow in the closing seconds of Game 6. The chances of the injury keeping Williams out are likely zero, but it could hamper the production of arguably the Jazz’s most important player.

The Lakers also closed out their opening-round series on Friday night with a close 95-94 win over Oklahoma City. Kobe Bryant netted a game-high 32 points and Pau Gasol added nine points and 18 rebounds, which included tipping in the game-winning basket. Like the Jazz the Lakers weren’t able to escape the first round without injury. Mr. Glass, Andrew Bynum, has a small tear in the meniscus in his right knee. He is expected to play through the injury, but it could shorten his time on the court and definitely hurt his production. The Jazz and Lakers met up four times during the regular season and Los Angeles won three of those matchups both SU and ATS. The Lakers are a 7-point home favorite tonight and a -450 favorite in the series.