Boston Celtics (7-2 SU, 8-1 ATS, 3-6 O/U) vs. Atlanta Hawks (1-8 SU, 2-6-1 ATS, 4-4-1 O/U)
NBA: Monday, November 6, 2017, Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, 7:30 pm ET
Line: Boston -8.5; Over/Under: 205
It’s a clash of teams at polar opposites in the Eastern Conference standings down in the Peach State. The Boston Celtics continue a road swing against Southeast Division foes as they face the Atlanta Hawks Monday night. Boston was in action on the road against the Magic in a showdown of two of the top teams in the East Sunday evening. Atlanta was on the road Sunday afternoon as they traveled to face the Cavaliers. The Celtics hold a 226-142 advantage in the all-time regular season series but the Hawks took two of three meetings last season.
Boston Celtics Look to Keep Rolling
Boston went into Sunday’s game the author of the league’s longest current win streak as they had reeled off seven straight wins after starting the year 0-2. The Celtics were in Orlando to face the Magic Sunday in a matchup of two of the top three teams in the East. Boston entered Sunday holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference, half a game ahead of the Pistons. The Celtics held a 1.5 game lead over the Raptors in the Atlantic Division standings. Boston is 4-1 on the road and is 4-2 against Eastern Conference foes so far this season.
The Celtics are 23rd in the league in scoring offense with 102.8 points per game. Boston is 5th in the league in rebounding with 47.3 boards per game and stand 13th with 22.4 assists per contest. Boston is above average on the defensive end: they are 1st in scoring defense, allowing 93.8 points per game. Kyrie Irving leads the team with 22.1 points and 5.7 assists per game in his first year with the team. Al Horford averages 14.7 points, nine rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Marcus Smart chips in 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and five assists per contest. Jaylen Brown (15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds), rookie Jayson Tatum (13.7 points, 6.6 rebounds), Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes are key pieces in the rotation. Boston will miss their big free agent signing, Gordon Hayward, who is likely done for the year after suffering a fracture dislocation of his ankle in the opener. They do hope to get Marcus Morris back in the near future. The Celtics are 21st in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.2 percent from the floor as a team. Boston is tied for 6th in three pointers per game with 11.2 per night while the team is 9th in three point percentage as they hit 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Atlanta Hawks Trying to Find Wins
While Boston has been rolling, Atlanta has been floundering with eight straight losses after a season-opening win entering Sunday. Things didn’t get much easier for Atlanta Sunday as they had to go on the road to face Cleveland. The Hawks entered Sunday as the worst team in the Eastern Conference, six games behind the Celtics for the top spot. Atlanta was five games behind Orlando for the Southeast Division lead and 3.5 games behind the Wizards for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. Entering Sunday, the Hawks were 0-3 at home and 0-6 against Eastern Conference foes on the year.
The Hawks are 25th in the league in scoring offense with 101.1 points per game this season. Atlanta is 22nd in the league in rebounding (42.3 rpg) and 23rd with 20.4 assists per contest. The Hawks are tied for 24th in the NBA in scoring defense as they allow 110.1 points per game. Dennis Schroder leads the team with 21.7 points plus 6.3 assists per contest. Marco Belinelli contributes 12.2 points plus 2.6 assists, Taurean Prince kicks in 14 points plus 5.8 rebounds a game and John Collins adds 10.6 points with 7.8 rebounds per contest. Dewayne Dedmon, Ersan Ilyasova, Malcolm Delaney, Kent Bazemore (13.1 points, two steals) and Mike Muscala have to contribute on the offensive end. The Hawks are 26th in the league by shooting 43.2 percent from the floor as a team. Atlanta is 22nd in the league with 9.7 made three pointers a night and tied for 11th in three point shooting as the team hits 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.
- Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference
- Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Southeast
- Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
- Hawks are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- Hawks are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference
This one is a potential trap game for the Celtics as they’re playing a struggling team 24 hours after playing a team that is chasing them in the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams are playing their third game in four nights here so fatigue will be a factor on both sides. Atlanta is scuffling on both ends of the floor as they don’t have too many weapons to work with besides Schroder. Boston is firing on all cylinders at the moment and will only get deeper when Morris starts playing. Give the points and take Boston as Brad Stevens will have his team ready to go.
Pick: Boston Celtics -8.5
This is one of those stretches that most teams are supposed to see fewer of this season with the earlier start to the year. Three games in four nights is no picnic for anyone and it’s the situation both teams find themselves in. Of course, that works okay for the Celtics, who are rolling, while the Hawks are just trying to figure out how to get a couple wins on the board. Boston is really clicking at the moment, especially on the defensive end. Perhaps facing a team like the Hawks, who can’t stop anyone, can get their offense going.
The under is 4-0 in the Celtics’ last 4 vs. Eastern Conference foes, 6-1 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a losing home record, 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing straight up record and 20-5-2 in their last 27 road games. Atlanta has seen the under go 6-1 in the second game of their last seven back to back situations and 4-1-1 in their last six against teams with a winning record. The teams have stayed under the total in four of the last five meetings in Atlanta: with fatigue leading to heavy legs, look for that to hold true here as well.