NBA Game 2 Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics

Apr 18, 2023

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Game: Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Odds: Hawks +10, Celtics -10

Total: 230

The Boston Celtics have been focused on their defense for this first-round playoff series against Atlanta. You could see that in Game 1 on Saturday as Boston ended up winning the first game of the series 112-99. Boston will try and do the same in Game 2 tonight in Boston. Coach Joe Mazzulla of the Celtics believes there is still room for development.

The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds. Jayson Tatum added 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Derrick White finished with 24 points. Marcus Smart, last season’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year, contributed 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and two blocks for the Celtics.

Boston’s defense was consistently led by Smart. Boston held Atlanta under 100 points for the first time since December 7 and just the third time this season. Atlanta scored 118.4 points per game to finish the regular season, more than any other team in the East, but it wasn’t until the second half that the team started to challenge Boston.

The Hawks held a second-half scoring advantage of 55-38 and will try to maintain that momentum throughout the rest of the series. The series shifts to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday following Tuesday’s contest in Boston.

Atlanta coach Quin Snyder believes his offense needs to support the Hawks’ defense. Converting in transition is one thing the Hawks can do to avoid a transition situation. Hawks star Trae Young was held to 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. He hit just one three-pointer in five attempts in Game 1. Young had a 26.2 point per game average during the regular season. The Celtics will continue to make things tough for Young tonight.

Dejounte Murray of Atlanta led the team in scoring in Game 1 with 24 points. He added eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Six of the 13 steals the Hawks recorded in the second half.

Atlanta shot just 5-of-29 from behind the arc in Game 1. That will have to improve especially if they want to keep up with Boston which shot 13-of-33 from three-point range. The win gave Boston a 6-0 SU record in the last six games against the Hawks. Boston has covered all six of those games too. The Celtics have won five straight against the Hawks at home and they are 8-0 SU in their last eight games at the Garden.

The Hawks are 3-7 ATS in their last ten games and they have struggled on the road going 4-10 SU in their last 14 away from home. Five of their last seven game totals have gone Over. However, in games against Boston, the Under has been the trend recently. In six of the last eight Hawks-Celtics games, the total has gone Under. The last ten games between the two teams have averaged 221.4 points and Game 1 fell far below the total of 231.5.

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