I requested the employees to preview the upcoming collection towards the Atlanta Hawks by asking them for what they believed the important thing to the collection was. I wished to depart the topic obscure sufficient for them to be inventive of their responses they usually got here via as you will note beneath.
I really feel like this collection towards Atlanta goes to come back all the way down to the battle of the bigs, and the way Boston exploits them. Clint Capela was feasting on the boards towards Miami, and whereas the Celtics heart depth has improved considerably, I nonetheless need to see how the crew tries to assault the glass towards a man like Capela. Outdoors of Robert Williams, all of Boston’s bigs are able to stretching the ground, which might be essential in softening up Atlanta’s inside protection and opening up the ground for guys like Brogdon, White, Good, and the Jays to assault the basket. I feel Al Horford might be an enormous a part of Boston’s plans towards ATL, and moreover Boston’s three-headed monster of a guard rotation going up towards Trae and Dejounte, the bigs matchup is one I’ll be maintaining my eye on on this first spherical collection.
Whereas I feel later playoff collection will come all the way down to the margins (X-factors, position gamers, bench manufacturing, matchups, teaching, and many others.), this primary spherical towards an inferior crew within the Hawks is one the place I feel Tatum and Brown can overwhelm them with star expertise if they arrive out with a killer mentality. The Hawks have undersized guards and an absence of actual wing stoppers with plus measurement. DeAndre Hunter is their finest wager for a Tatum or Brown matchup and there is just one of him. Capela and Okongwu are strong inside defenders, however they don’t have the flexibility of a Bam Adebayo or the sheer measurement of the Bucks entrance line to actually deter Tatum and Brown from feasting on the rim. Tatum and Brown ought to be studying the scouting report, having a look at one another, committing to averaging a mixed 60+ factors and 15+ free throw makes an attempt per recreation, and placing the Hawks to sleep in 4 or 5.
In truth, there’s no world (barring accidents) wherein we lose 4 video games to the Hawks. So, the important thing to this collection is definitely nearly getting ready us as successfully as potential for the subsequent spherical, probably towards the Sixers. Towards them (and any good crew for that matter), ball motion and participant motion are key. Boston is a unique crew when they’re enjoying scorching potato on offense versus once they’re going to Tatum and Brown isolation ball, and what kind of crew we see towards Atlanta might be indicative of the crew that we’ll see in following rounds.
The important thing for the Celtics is for them to not play like they’re enjoying the Hawks. By the numbers, the Hawks had been the definition of common this season. They stayed at .500 for the whole yr and confirmed few indicators of true playoff competitiveness. Their Jap Convention Finals run was two years in the past, and it appears to be like like a whole flash within the pan. The one world wherein the Celtics lose greater than a recreation (if that) on this collection is that if they play all the way down to their competitors. You noticed it towards the Washington Wizards late within the season, you noticed it once they blew three double-digit leads in a row, and you would see it within the playoffs if the Celtics go on the market and play lazy basketball. In the event that they keep away from that lure, they’ll be simply wonderful.
I feel for essentially the most half, Boston gained’t change as a lot as they usually do, so it’ll all come all the way down to how the Celtics’ three-headed monster of Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Good, and Derrick White can chase the two-headed monster of Trae Younger and Dejounte Murray round screens, contest within the mid-range, and most significantly, not foul.
Nevertheless, what I’m actually specializing in is who’s Joe Mazzulla’s eighth man within the rotation. Due to Atlanta’s athleticism and measurement on the wings, my intestine tells me that it’ll be Grant Williams as a 3rd large/wing, however in addition to Sam Hauser has shot the ball towards the Hawks, I simply don’t know the way you retain him off the ground.
I agree with every part above. I feel the important thing to this collection – so simple as it sounds – is for the Celtics to not underestimate the Hawks. In the event that they faux they’re enjoying the Warriors or Bucks, every part will fall into place. Atlanta might steal a recreation, however I don’t see the collection going longer than 5. Boston has an excessive amount of expertise and stability on each ends.
Realistically, I don’t assume the Hawks are going to have the ability to push this collection additional than six video games on the absolute most. They’ve been the essence of mediocrity, hovering inside a recreation of .500 for months, they usually appear to be a large number behind the scenes amidst pressure between Trae Younger and the group. It sounds reductive, however I feel that is merely going to be a matter of the Celtics having a postseason mindset and taking Atlanta critically as an opponent. Other than 2021’s shorthanded loss to Brooklyn sans Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have constantly taken care of enterprise within the first spherical of the playoffs within the Jayson Tatum period, together with three sweeps. In the event that they keep away from an early letdown and any wild swings in taking pictures variance, there’s a powerful likelihood they might earn a fourth this yr.
What’s the one factor the Celtics do this’s assured to perturb the followers? Everyone knows it’s once they “play all the way down to the competitors.” That’s a situation marked by lack of tempo and ball motion, little to no defensive strain, and considering they’ll flip it on within the fourth quarter and win even with out enjoying the fitting method. We’ve seen the outcomes too typically, comparable to permitting 150 factors at OKC, being uncovered by the lottery-bound Rockets and Wizards, and dropping three of 4 to the well-under-.500 Magic.
The Celtics are one of many favorites to win the title in June. They had been 3-0 versus Atlanta this season. Nobody expects the Hawks to win this collection. ESPN’s panel, for instance, picked the Cs unanimously (15-0) to advance. Solely three of the consultants stated it might take as many as six video games. So the important thing to the collection is, how will the Celtics strategy Recreation 1? Will they play all the way down to the competitors and put themselves in a gap? Or will they arrive out targeted and ruthlessly dominate the lesser crew, as a real contender ought to? Within the playoff ambiance, I consider it is going to be the latter…however I’ll really feel higher after I see it.
I feel this collection favors the Celtics in each place. Nevertheless, I’m actually considering seeing the battle between Dejounte Murray and Jaylen Brown, as I feel that might be among the finest battles over the course of 4 or 5 video games (sure, I’m calling sweep or gentlemans sweep.)
I’ll say, I’m additionally to see if Mazzulla makes use of smaller defenders on Clint Capela, in a bid to get beneath his hips and hold him out of the paint – thus limiting his offensive rebounding. I’m not bought that Capela can do to Boston what he did to the Warmth – as they’ve had heart points all yr when it comes to high quality backup behind Bam Adebayo.
After all, discovering methods to restrict Trae, and uplift Jayson Tatum are each going to be excessive on the issues I am watching out for on Saturday