On Tuesday night in Boston, the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics resume their Eastern Conference Best of Seven first-round series. In game one, Boston built an early 30-point lead before ultimately taking down Atlanta 112-99; tip-off for game two is set for 7:00 PM EST.
Boston has a record of 57-25 for the season. The Celtics commit 18.8 fouls every game, shooting 81.2% from the free-throw line. They are dishing out assists 26.7 times per contest (7th in the NBA) and lose possession by turning the ball over 13.4 times per contest. Boston has scored 9,671 points on the season (117.9 per contest), pulling in 45.3 boards per contest. Regarding offensive execution, the Celtics are connecting on 47.5% from the floor, which ranks them 14th in basketball.
The Celtics on the defensive end are ranked 5th in the league in points allowed per game with 111.4. They can force 12.7 TOs per game and have let teams shoot 46.3% from the floor (5th in the league). The Boston defense surrenders 34.5% on 3-point attempts (954 of 2,763) and opponents are converting on 76.9% of their shots from the free-throw line. They have given up 23.1 assists and 44.0 boards every game, which is 2nd and 18th in the league.
Atlanta will enter this game with an overall record of 41-41 this year. They give up possession 12.9 times per game while committing 18.8 fouls per contest as an entire unit. Regarding rebounding and passing efficiency, Atlanta ranks 18th out of all NBA teams at 2,049 assists (or 18th of 2150 total assists). On 3-point shots (882 of 2,505), they shoot 35.2% (35% from 3-point land and 81.8 from charity stripe). They averaged an impressive 48.3% shooting this season en route to an average 118.4 point performance, placing them 3rd among basketball opponents in scoring per contest while shooting 48.3% from the floor compared with 48.3% shooting.
On defense, the Hawks are forcing their opponents into 14.2 turnovers per contest while drawing 19.7 personal fouls a game, surrendering 35.6% on shots from distance and rank 26th overall in points per game allowed (118.1). They give up 48.6% opponent field goal percentage (3,592 of 7,398) as a team and 44.1 boards per game as a unit; their opponent assists total stands at 2,131 this year alone!
Before becoming careless in the second half, the Celtics’ offense was unstoppable. Brown and Tatum’s drives to the basket went unimpeded while they often found open shots from long range. Atlanta’s inability to consistently hit threes will prove costly against a Celtics squad that shoots threes at the second-highest rate in the NBA; conversely, Atlanta boasts the highest two-point conversion percentage. Boston’s Al Horford and Rob Williams III frequently met Atlanta players at the rim and altered their shots on Saturday, contributing three of Boston’s seven shot blocks in total. Look for Boston to establish Brown and Tatum going towards the basket to open up long-range shooting opportunities.
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