NBA Game 3 Preview: Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks

Apr 21, 2023

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Game: Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Odds: Boston -5.5, Atlanta +5.5

Total: 228.5

The Atlanta Hawks will need Trae Young to play better in Game 3 at home on Friday night if they hope to overturn a 0-2 deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. In the series, Young’s backcourt partner Dejounte Murray has shot 21-for-49 from the field (7-for-19 on three-pointers). Young has not been nearly as impressive. Young has 40 points through the first two games of the series, but he has shot  just 14-for-40 from the field and 3-of-13 from beyond the arc.

When Young went to the free throw line in the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday night, Boston fans chanted “overrated” at him. In that 119-106 defeat, Young scored 24 points, but he also shot 9-for-22 from the field and missed six of his eight three-point attempts. Additionally, he turned the ball over five times.

Derrick White of Boston has been the series’ most effective guard so far, scoring 50 points in the two games. Only Jayson Tatum has scored more points (54) among Boston players. In the final quarter of Game 2, White scored 14 of Boston’s 29 points. He finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots. The only other Celtics guard with at least 25 points and three blocks in a playoff game came from the late Reggie Lewis in 1992.

The series’ fourth game will take place on Sunday in Atlanta. Tuesday’s Game 5 of the series will take place in Boston if the Hawks manage to avoid a four-game sweep.

In their two playoff games, the Hawks, who scored 118.7 points per game on average during the regular season, have been held to 205 points. In those two games, Atlanta has shot 40.7 percent from the field against Boston’s defense.

Boston has won its last five straight games and seven of its last eight. The Celtics have now won seven straight against the Hawks. Boston has also covered the spread in each of those seven games. The Celtics have also fared well against Atlanta on the road winning seven of the last 10 games at the State Farm Arena.

Atlanta is 1-4 SU and ATS in its last five games. The Hawks are 6-2 SU in their last eight home games, but, as mentioned, they have not had much success against the Celtics at home.

Boston’s defense has been outstanding as of late. Not only have the Celtics held Atlanta to 102.5 points per game in this series, but they have allowed just 105.3 points per game over their last 10 games. During that span, Boston has held opponents to fewer than 100 points four times.

As a result, four of the Celtics last six games have gone Under the total. In the series with Atlanta, seven of the last nine games have gone Under. The last ten games in the series have averaged 220.9 points per game.

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