The Celtics Travel to Atlanta to take over Atlanta Hawks For the first 3 matches between them this season. The Celtics and Hawks will meet again on March 11th in Atlanta and finally on March 9th in Boston. This is the first game of a 3-game road trip for the Celtics. This is the Hawks’ first home game after Road Trip 2. They will play at home on Saturday before getting back on the road.
These two teams split the series 2-2 last season with each team winning at home. Atlanta won 3 straight home games against the Celtics. Celtics 243-147 overall against the Falcons. They are 87-93 against the Hawks in Atlanta all time. The Celtics dominated the series overall, but they struggled a bit in Atlanta.
The Celtics have the best record in the league right now. The Hawks are third in the East but are coming off a 121-106 win over the second-place Bucks in Milwaukee. The Celtics are 5-2 on the road while the Hawks are 5-2 at home. The Hawks are looking for their second straight win while the Celtics are looking to win their eighth straight game.
The Celtics are going to need to take this team very seriously and they are going to need to play better on both ends of the field than they did against the Thunder. The Falcons dated January 17, 2022, and are between the ages of 24 and 5 at home. Also, the Hawks have scored over 100 points in their last 35 games, including their first 14 this season. This is the longest active streak of more than 100 games in the NBA. It wouldn’t be easy to beat them in their arena.
Robert Williams III is close to returning but is still out of this match as he recovers from knee surgery. Danilo Gallinari is still out while rehabilitating from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Malcolm Brogdon has missed the last 3 matches due to a sore hamstring. It was originally listed as questionable for this game but has been left out. Marcus Smart was originally listed as possibly having a sore ankle and was also ruled out of this game. I’m going to guess Derek White will start in his place. For the Hawks, Bogdan Bogdanovic is out as he works to come back from off-season knee surgery.
Potential Celtics appetizer
2 players way
out / injuries
Exit by Danilo Gallinari (ACL).
Robert Williams III (knee) is out
Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) is out
Marcus Smart (ankle) is out
Head coach (interim)
Hooks likely beginners
2 players way
out / injuries
Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) is out
Derek White vs. Tra Young
Young ranks 10th in the league in scoring with 26.9 points per game. He also averages 3.2 rebounds and 9.3 per game. He shoots 37.8% from the field and 30.9% from outside the arc. He’s coming off a 21-point, 9-assist game against the Bucks. I suspect Derek White will start with Marcus Smart left out. Whoever starts here will have their hands full trying to slow Young down.
Jaylen Brown vs. DeJonte Murray
Murray came in from San Antonio in the off-season and brought with him a defensive mentality that captured the Hawks, who had the eighth best defensive tackle this season. Murray averages 21.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He shoots 45.3% from the field and 32.1% from outside the arc. Jaylen Brown will need to work hard on both ends of the court to get the best out of this match.
Grant Williams vs. John Collins
Collins averages 12.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. He shoots 49.3% from the field and 24.4% from outside the arc. It’s dangerous when the paint gets in and Grant will need to keep it out of the basket and off the boards.
defense Defending is always the key to winning matches. Defense is especially important to the Celtics in this game because the Hawks are a good scoring team, averaging 115.6 points per game, which is 10th in the league. The Celtics are ranked first, averaging 120.0 points per game. But the Hawks are a good defensive team and will make scoring tougher for the Celtics. The Celtics have a Defensive Rating of 112.5 which is No. 21 while the Hawks have a Defensive Rating of 110.0 which is No. 8. The Celtics must make defense a priority in this game and they must play this strong defense for 48 minutes without letting up.
recovery Besides defense, rebounding is key to winning. A lot of rebounding is effort and desire as evidenced by Payton Pritchard’s ability to grab offensive rebounds. When the Celtics go the extra mile on the boards, it usually carries over into the rest of the game. The Falcons average 46.0 rebounds per game (5th) while the Celtics average 42.1 rebounds per game (23rd). The Celtics need to go hard after every bounce. They can’t afford to give the Hawks extra possessions by letting them grab more bounces.
Be aggressive The Celtics should be the team that plays harder and wants to win more. They must be aggressive in diving for loose balls, in going to the basket, in getting stops on the defensive side, and in pursuit of rebounds. The Celtics let the Thunder be the most aggressive team for 3 quarters, and they finally became the most aggressive team in the fourth quarter. The Celtics need to play hard and aggressive for 48 minutes in this game.
Take care of the ball The Celtics need to keep moving the ball to find the open man and when they do, it makes it harder for them to protect them. However, they have to be careful with their passes and not turn the ball around because the Hawks average 18.2 points per game. The Celtics also need to be careful with dribbles and not approach a crowd and flip the ball.
On the road The Celtics are playing in their first 3 consecutive road games. The Celtics have to focus on playing their game and not get distracted by playing on the road, traveling and hostile crowds. The Hawks were playing well and they were playing very well at home. The Celtics have to work even harder to win there.
The verdict Synthesis is always an x-factor. All the game staff describe the game a little differently with some describing it as aggravating and others as letting it play. Some referees make head scratching calls while others try really hard to get it right. In many games this season, they’ve held the game tight in the first half and then eased calls in the second half. The Celtics have to adjust to how the game is called and focus on playing the game and not on bad or no calls. They can’t take the time to complain about the calls because the referees were so quick to call tech to the players who were complaining.