Arena: TD Garden
Home Floor: Boston Celtics
NBA Regular Season is heading towards the Postseason window gradually and we have already seen some scintillating action night in and night out. Before the postseason, we will have the All-Star break which also brings a brief rest window, much-needed during this time around. Some squads brought in huge changes during the trade deadline and that can surely impact the way the teams will play moving ahead. Keeping that in mind, let us jump into the contest between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks.
The Celtics are in the midst of a hot period right now and this is the best basketball they have played on both ends throughout the season. They have won seven in a row and nine out of the last ten games, as the decision to bring in Derrick White now gives them huge depth at the one-guard position. The team has been strong defensively and the ball-sharing has improved at a terrific level as well. Their current record is 32 wins and 25 losses, and with the way things are going, they can seize a top-six position and do away with the hassle of going through the Play-in tournament.
Talking about the Atlanta Hawks, they seem to be heading to the Play-in territory. They have lost four out of their last six games and currently are with just 26 wins and 29 losses. They hit a great game-winning streak during the last two weeks of January but they have gotten back to their old losing ways. They have had trouble against elite squads in the East and some teams have been able to crack them on both ends of the floor. Still, with Trae Young as the platoon commander, they have a strong offensive attack but unlike the Celtics, their defense lacks the grip. Can they win against a highly developing Celtics squad here and get their season back in the groove? To know my total and result prediction, slide over to “Expert Betting Tips”. For my player-based statistics prediction, jump to “Player Performance Prediction”.Get Your Welcome Bonus!
Two squads with different identities
Celtics have turned it on
Celtics are a brilliant defensive team, they are able to protect the perimeter and with a sturdy frontline, it is not an easy job to score in the paint. Their help defense is incredible and recently, the team has been effective in both shutting down fastbreaks and also taking away quality looks inside. This is not a surprise because while Marcus Smart is a pesky and hustling perimeter defender, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are also disruptive. The main strength lies with the frontline defense of Horford and Robert Williams. These two are able to give tremendous help and also play terrific one-on-one defense.
For the Celtics, a lack of ball rotation was a problem earlier but now the team has showcased tremendous ball-handling skills. With Tatum and Brown, the team has to high-yielding all-around two-way players, who can score in bunches from multiple areas in the floor. Smart has had some strong offensive games too while Robert Williams can provide second-chance opportunities and inside finishes. The decision to bring in Derrick White is terrific since he can be a big-time three-point shooter and can also finish inside while being a superb passer. Pritchard and Grant Williams can pop up threes off the bench and overall, the Celtics have built incredible depth are surely are a handful to deal with on both ends of the floor.
Hawks’ defensive issue, overdependence on Trae
It is a simple way to analyze the Hawks if you look at Trae, if Trae is hot, they are most likely to win and when he has been absent or hasn’t shown well, they have lost most of the games. He is surveyor of the floor for the Hawks and with him in the mix, the Hawks are able to extend the defense through his knockdown perimeter game and his superb passing. However, this is also a limitation for this squad because there is definitely an overdependency on the dynamic guard. With Collins sidelined till the All-Star Break, the team will have trouble generating offense upfront, and both their defense and rebounding will also take a hit. The Hawks have been unable to win against teams with 50%+ win record teams lately.
The reason for that has been their lack of defensive discipline. While they have been one of the best offensive teams in the league, their defense has not been up to the mark. Clint Capela’s reduced impact is one of the reasons and the other reason is that, unlike Celtics, Atlanta hasn’t shown the required grit on the perimeter defense. But yes, they have offensive depth with Bogdanovic, Huerter, and Gallinari as effective perimeter shooters and Hunter as an all-around scorer. But yes, there is a lack of depth in multiple areas and unlike Celtics, the Hawks are unable to contain runs and give away an advantage. There are many times when the Hawks are unable to hold teams below 30 points during multiple quarters. Can the Hawks get it together as the Eastern Conference keeps getting deep?
Player Performance Prediction
Assuming they are available, these are my player-based predictions:
- I see Jayson Tatum scoring at least 22 points while grabbing at least 5 rebounds;
- I believe Trae Young will be held under 27 points here;
- I believe Derrick White will dish at least 5 assists;
- I see Bogdan Bogdanovic being held under 15 points here;
- I believe Robert Williams III will get at least 2 blocks here;
- I see DeAndre Hunter scoring at least 14 points here.
Expert Betting Tips
Points Range: The Hawks have scored 115 or more regularly this season but yes the Celtics defense will test them. As stated above, the bulk of the efficient production relies upon Trae Young and if the Celtics can shut him down, they can take care of most of the scoring. On the other hand, the Celtics have scored 110+ during most games recently but yes, their defense pulls them through during most instances. On defense, the Hawks can struggle with Collins out and for a team that already gives up 120+ quite a bit, that is a huge problem. I see the Celtics scoring at least 112 here while relegating Hawks below 110. I see the Total points range as 220-230.
Prediction: With Collins out, the Hawks will lose their match-up advantage at big-Forward. The Celtics defense is revved up right now and it has enjoyed a great period at the home floor. The Hawks will have their work cut out on both ends of the floor as the inclusion of Derrick White has added a new dimension to the Celtics attack. I see the Celtics building a lead through the second quarter, a big run by Hawks in the third quarter but the Celtics will shut shop in the last quarter. I see the Celtics taking this game 118:107.
- Total 1- Individual Total 1 Over 113.5 for 1.90;
- Handicap: 1 -7.5 for 2.12;
- Total O 220.5 for 1.90.