Boston: 98.5 points/100 possessions (25th)
Atlanta: 100.2 points/100 possessions (18th)
Boston: 97.2 points allowed/100 possessions (4th)
Atlanta: 97.8 points allowed/100 possessions (5th)
Probable Atlanta starters: Jeff Teague (PG), Kirk Hinrich (SG), Joe Johnson (SF?), Josh Smith (PF), Zaur Pachulia (C)
View from opposing bench: Hoopinion
This is the first time we’ve seen the Hawks this season? How is that possible? We’ve seen Indiana three times. And look at this roster now! McGrady, Dampier, Stackhouse, Radmanovic? Atlanta is like the NBA’s storage unit. Barry Weiss is, like, about to bid $4000 for this team just to make Dave upset.
Joe Johnson is also in the midst of a filthy shooting streak: he’s averaging 28.8 points in his last four games. But he’ll also forced to defend the small forward position if Marvin Williams is still out, so that should be a boost for Paul Pierce, whose shooting has at times been a different kind of filthy on this road trip.
The Hawks are in the recent habit of beating bad teams and losing to good teams, so this could serve as a good “diagnostic” game for Boston. Atlanta’s still without Al Horford, but aspirational Celtic Josh Smith is having a strong year and Jeff Teague is blossoming into a legitimate third-tier point guard.
Think of this game as a battle for the all-important sixth seed. The Hawks are up 2.5 games on Boston right now in the race to avoid Miami or Chicago in the first round. The gulf between those two teams and, like, Orlando and Indiana is obviously a huge one, and getting the sixth seed minimizes your chances of having to go through BOTH Chicago and Miami on your way to the Finals. It’s fun talking about this team like it’s a Finals contender rather than on the playoff bubble, right?
Hard to picture the team that we saw in Sacto and Denver beating the Hawks on the road. Celtics 87, Hawks 91.