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Bet on the NBAIt was not an easy series for the aging Boston Celtics, but they were able to eliminate the Atlanta Hawks in 6 games, winning the last one 83-80 in the Garden. They move on to face the Philadelphia 76ers, who eliminated the top seeded but injured beyond all recognition Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Game 1 will be Saturday in Boston and the Celtics will enjoy home court throughout this next series. Click here for the second round betting odds.

Surprisingly, it almost wasn't to be. The Hawks took the first game in Atlanta and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo earned a one game suspension for chest bumping a referee, a huge no-no in the NBA. Playing without Rondo in Game 2, Paul Pierce took over for Boston, almost single-handedly winning the game (and striking a Tim Tebow pose while he was at it).

Game 4 in Boston was an absolute embarrassment for the Hawks, as the Celtics outscored them 101-79 and were leading by upwards of 30 points for much of that one. This was when the series really shifted towards Boston's direction, as they took a 3 games to 1 lead and outplayed Atlanta in every aspect of the game of basketball.

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The Hawks escaped Game 5 with a win on their home court, although the Celtics had a chance to steal it again in the last seconds. Rondo, though, was not even able to get a shot off by the buzzer as he was dribbling the ball around the left wing looking for an open teammate.

In the deciding Game 6, Kevin Garnett, old but still formidable, put the Celtics on his back and carried them into the second round of the playoffs. Garnett score 28 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, adding 5 blocks in the process. The Celtics will continue needed Garnett throughout the playoffs, especially as Pierce has been suffering from a sore knee lately. All signs are pointing to a Heat-Celtics rematch in the Eastern Conference finals.


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