NBA Game Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics

Mar 1, 2022

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Game: Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics  

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET 

Odds:  Hawks +6, Celtics -6 

Total: 225 

Atlanta has won three of its last four games as the Hawks continue to make a run at a playoff berth. They will face a Boston team that had a rare defensive lapse on Sunday in a 128-107 defeat to Indiana. The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams in the league and have essentially shut opponents down for the better part of two months. Boston is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games and gets the Hawks at home where they have beaten them six of the past seven times. 

Historically, Boston has had Atlanta’s number winning 12 of the last 17 matchups. The last time the two teams played the Celtics won at home 105-95 as a 7.5-point favorite. Over the last ten head-to-head matchups, it is Atlanta that holds a 7-3 ATS mark. The Hawks have covered in 12 of their last 18 games, but they haven’t done as well against the number on the road. Atlanta is 10-19 ATS in road games this year. 

Atlanta continues to be without F John Collins, who is out indefinitely. In his absence, Trae Young has stepped up his game. Young scored 41 points and had 11 assists in a win over Toronto on Saturday. Four other Hawks scored in double figures as Atlanta put up 127 points. In the three wins in their last four games, the Hawks scored 124 points or more. That will be hard to do against Boston. 

In 16 games since Jan. 23, Boston has 13 wins. In those wins, the Celtics never surrendered more than 107 points. In fact, they held nine of those 13 opponents to 97 points or less. Despite the loss to Indiana, Boston is still fourth in points allowed per game and second in defensive efficiency. The Celtics gave up 17 three-pointers to the Pacers, which typically doesn’t happen against Boston. 

Atlanta, being a top ten offense, has seen the Over hit more often in its games. For the season, the Hawks O/U record is 33-27. More recently, the Over has hit in five of Atlanta’s last seven games. That’s pretty significant given the fact that the lowest total the Hawks faced in that stretch was 225. 

Boston, surprisingly, has seen the Over cash in each of its last five games. For the season, the Celtics have trended Under. That makes sense as Boston typically holds opponents to 103 points or less. Aside from the Indiana game on Sunday, the highest total faced by the Celtics was 216.5. In the series with the Hawks, the last three games have seen the total go Under. Over the last ten games, the O/U record is an even 5-5. 

Prior to that loss to Indiana, Boston had given up an average of 98 points per game in its previous ten. That stretch included the 105-95 win over Atlanta. Young scored 30 points in that game and Boston limited the rest of the Hawks. That will be the key tonight for Boston once again.