The Atlanta Hawks hope to stay on the winning track in Friday’s second half of their ensuing doubleheader with the Boston Celtics. Trae Young’s 40 points on Wednesday night served as a lullaby for the slumping Celtics in a 122-114 victory. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Hawks, while adding a third loss in four games for Boston.
Young steals the showThe Celtics had Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both on the floor against the Hawks on Wednesday, but Trae Young was the main attraction. He dropped 40 buckets to help lift his team to a 122-114 victory on the road. It was a much-needed win to erase a four-game losing streak for the Hawks and keep them in the hunt for a potential home stretch playoff run.
No, it isn’t quite over for them yet.
The Hawks need to continue to be aggressive attacking the rim and keep the Celtics in foul trouble. Both Brown and Payton Pritchard were working with five fouls on a night when the Hawks had 31 free throw attempts. One good way to keep a good defensive team on its heels is to make them think about playing defense. A few whistles being called can loosen the Celtics up really quickly.
But none of that matters if shots aren’t falling.
Considering how poorly the Hawks have played defensively this season, they have to be lights out on offense to win games like this on the road. John Collins and Clint Capela both contributed 20-plus points in the victory over the Celtics. Finding the same success is completely dependent on other key players showing up, especially with De’Andre Hunter still out with a knee injury. Even an inconsistent offensive team like the Celtics can pile points on the board against a Hawks team allowing 113.8 points per game on the road.
Boston, where’s the defense?The Celtics got absolutely torched in the paint.
Atlanta capitalized on high-percentage shooting inside of the arc for 57.1 percent on Wednesday night. It’s hard to win any game when allowing that sort of successful shooting to an opponent. Granted, the Celtics are nowhere near the savvy defensive team they were last season, but they’re still hanging around by ranking sixth in scoring and 11th overall.
However, they were clearly bad against the Hawks.
It isn’t helping matters that Kemba Walker and Daniel Theis have both been out. Tatum and Brown also aren’t getting enough help from their bench. We can point to many reasons why the Celtics couldn’t get the job done, but at the end of the day, it all comes back down to defense. If they can’t do a better job of getting stops, they’ll be on the losing end for a second straight game on Friday.
The Hawks have been one of the more frustrating teams in the league considering their otherworldly offensive potential. They could run that sort of performance back in a heartbeat if the Celtics aren’t ready to defend against it. Matching it is also a possibility on the offensive end of the floor.
But who will be the third wheel if both Walker (knee) and Marcus Smart (calf) remain out?
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Hawks are 14-29 ATS in their last 43 Friday games.
- Hawks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Celtics are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up loss.
- Celtics are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS loss.
- Celtics are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games.