at Boston Celtics (14-2) at Atlanta Hawks (3-12)
Saturday, November 23, 2018
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #19, Road Game #11
TV: NBCSB, FSSE-ATL, NBA-LP 754 (DTV)/753 (xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 92.9 FM The Game
Philips ArenaProbable Starting Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Trae Young
Jaylen Brown vs Kent Bazemore Small Forward
Jayson Tatum vs Taurean Prince Power Forward
Marcus Morris vs John CollinsCenter
Aron Baynes vs Alex Len Celtics Reserves
Al HorfordTwo Way Players
Walt Lemon, Jr.
P. J. DozierHead Coach
Brad Stevens Hawks Reserves
Two Way Players
Jaylen AdamsHead Coach
The Celtics travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks tonight. Boston will attempt to turn their season around with a win against the lowly Hawks, who currently have the 2nd worst record in the league and own the longest losing streak in the NBA at 9 games. Unfortunately, the Celtics are on their own 3 game losing streak and have lost 7 of their last 10 games. Boston is coming off an embarrassing 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks where the score doesn't indicate just how poorly Boston played, as New York was up by 26 at one point and led by 15+ points most of the game.
The Hawks are led by their exceptional rookie PG Trae Young who is 3rd amongst rookies in scoring at 16.5 points per game and is 3rd in the NBA with 8.1 assists per game. Third year player, Taureen Prince, is also having a good season for Atlanta scoring a career high 15.9 points per game. The Hawks are a bad team and have very little talent that is above league average. First year Hawks' head coach, Lloyd Pierce has struggled to get the young Atlanta team performing well as he adjusts to implement his system and gets to know his players. They rank dead last in the NBA in FG%, turnovers per game, point differential, and rebound %. But the Hawks like to create turnovers( they rank in the top 10 in blocks and steals), get out on the fast break(5th in league in fast break points) and push the pace of the game(they play at the fastest pace in the league). The Hawks will put up a lot of shots, they just don't put a lot of them through the net.
The Celtics will be without Al Horford tonight as he misses his first game of the season with a sore knee. Horford will be missed as he was one of the few players that played well against New York. Expect Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis to soak up a lot of Horford's minutes. Also, we might see a little of Robert Williams, who has received a rare activation for this game. Brad Stevens continues to struggle with what he has to do to get this team to perform to it's potential. If the Celtics lose tonight it will be the first time Boston will be under .500 this late in the season since Stevens' 2nd year with the Celtics. Coach Stevens on Boston's problems: ďWeíre not playing with the same personality that we did last year, and thatís the easy way to describe it, and the 50,000 issues are below that."
For the Celtics to win they need to correct many parts of their game. They are dead last in the NBA in 1st period scoring at 23.8 per game. Digging holes in the first half and then attempting to turn things on late, especially with their excellent defense, for a comeback win has been a recipe for failure with this team. Boston has to start being aggressive from the start of games and establish going to the basket, that will in turn create the space for wide open looks. And at some point, they need to shoot themselves out of this season long team shooting slump. The Celtics are second in the league in wide open shots and creating wide open looks but shoot a paltry 38.2% from the field and 35% from three in shots taken with the closet defender at 6+ feet away from the shooter.
Look for Boston to go to Kyrie Irving a lot in his matchup with the rookie Trae Young. Young has a very good offensive game, but struggles mightly on the defensive end of the court. With Al Horford out off the game, that will open up more touches for Boston's wings, but it will be imperative for them to keep everyone involved and not let the ball stick, as Horford was a major cog in moving the ball and creating offense for the whole team. Here is hoping that Boston uses this stretch of games against teams looking to build for the future rather than compete to turn their season around.