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Game 33: Celtics (15-17) @ Hawks (20-11) Open Thread

Boston at Atlanta
7:00 P.M. ET
Philips Arena

Offensive Efficiency:
 100.0 points/100 possessions (20th)
 102.4 points/100 possessions (13th)

Defensive Efficiency:
 101.2 points allowed/100 possessions (11th)
 99.9 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)

Probable Hawks Starters:
Jeff Teague
 (PG), Louis Williams (SG), Kyle Korver (SF), Josh Smith (PF), and Al Harford (C)

View From The Opposing Bench: 
Hawks Hoop <http://hawkshoop.com/>

**The following post is written by Adam Lowenstein


This 15-17 Boston Celtics record through their first 32 regular season games sure looks familiar. Well, it is the exact same way they began the 2011-12 season before reeling off 24 wins in their final 34 games. We cannot assume that this Celtics team will magically perform that well in this 82-game season, but they showed signs of life on Friday evening against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden.

On Friday, Doc Rivers decided to bring back his most successful 2011-12 starting lineup – Rajon RondoAvery BradleyPaul PierceBrandon Bass and Kevin Garnett – and he reaped the benefits. This five-man unit was one of the top ten plus/minus ones in the league last season, and it has the chance to be one of the Celtics better lineups in 2012-13, too. However, we did see one change that could make this group even stronger: Jared Sullinger at the power forward position.

While the Celtics were playing terribly on their two recent road trips, one of the very few bright spots for this team was Sullinger. Then against the Pacers, he shined again. Sullinger was actually the one who stole Bass’s minutes because of Brandon getting into early foul trouble, which Cedric Maxwell accurately predicted. Sullinger stepped in and had his second double-digit rebound game of the season. In fact, when he grabs at least six defensive rebounds, the Celtics are now 7-1. Now as the second-best plus/minus player on the team, Sullinger will need to continue to make an impact as the Celtics head to Atlanta to face a team that is surprisingly only two games out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

While the Hawks lost on Friday night to the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta feels confident that they can win on the second night of the back-to-back. Impressively, the Hawks are 7-1 when playing on zero days of rest this season while the Celtics are only 4-5. In addition, the Hawks have succeeded when Jeff Teague has scored well. When he puts up more than 10 points, they have a 16-5 record this season. When he does not, the Hawks are 4-6. It will be interesting to see how this Celtics defense stacks up against Teague as well as the Hawks new starters for 2012-13, Louis Williams and Kyle Korver.


The Hawks will hit more shots than the Pacers did, but the Celtics will continue their strong defense to pull off the upset in Atlanta. Remember, the Hawks have had the fourth-easiest schedule in the NBA this season. Another benefit for the Celtics is a hobbled Josh Smith, who aggravated his right hip flexor against the Pistons and played only 12 second-half minutes on Friday.

Celtics 95, Hawks 94

  • elroz

    The Hawks are good. Hopefully they will not be any more rested relative to the Celtics – both played last night.
    Yes, I agree, the Hawks can and probably will score more. But the Celtics will be facing a less difficult defense than last night. If the Celtics play the whole game with the same urgency and commitment as last night, they should have a good chance to win. Frankly, seeing how the Celtics have 11 players than can play on any night (when Barbosa is available), there should not be any utterly tired players, as even at high intensity, one is asked to play 30 minutes at most. Getting the second unit to play with urgency and commitment on D is very important. Jeff Green can still play good defense even if he stinks offensively right now…the same for Terry.

  • Danny

    Well that was a pathetic 1st quarter. Did Lou Williams really just drop 16 in a quarter against us?

  • Danny

    Finally playing with some tempo and energy. Gotta keep this pace.

  • Danny

    Great win. Most intense I’ve seen the d in a long time. Best half this year. Side note anyone else notice both pierce and kg go dap up smith after the game and chat for a second. I have a feeling he’s signing here next year. KG rarely daps up opponents.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Jeff Green is turning into an after thought with Bradley back in the lineup. He basically does nothing but spell a few minutes of rest for PP. I envision him basically falling out of the lineup if this type of play the Celtics have demonstrated for the past two games continues. Who would of thought Courtney Lee would be getting more time on the floor than Green after Bradley came back? Not me.

    • jman

      After thought…lol. is there a thought for Green. The only thought there should be is to find a way to lose him. Christ, bring g Joseph up and put green in d-league for now. Don,t play him at all. Ever. When he came in to relieve pierce, it was bad. And for those of you that want him to start, please please don't write that for it might happen.lol. pierce is so much better when he is playing a full game. So much better than hero ball Paul. Good win guys, no green though ever again. Ride the pine. Lol

  • Switcharoo

    Wow talk about a comeback in the 2nd half! I was just reading the write up at the nba site and its easy to see why Pierce is still the captain; from what Iread he fired up a team that was ready to eat itself.
    Gotta love Bradley return, it sounds like he’s part of the defensive pressure the Celtics have been pining for.
    Lets Go Celtics.

    Oma side note can’t wait to drive to Boston and see them host the Rockets. I’ve been a Cs fan since the early 80s but this will be my first time seeing them live!

    • CelticsBIG3

      Awesome man! What section you sitting in?

  • Switcharoo

    CLB 139. CC
    Can’t wait!

  • Switcharoo

    Yeah I think Green was a bust, definitely not worth the cabbage Ainge put up for him. It happens a lot , the starters will build some momentum and then in comes Green and the rest of the scubs and it all just evaporates! As I said before, trade time should be interesting. I only hope Ainge doesn’t let his love affair with Green coud his judgment and he ships him if he can for someone who can work Docs system.

    • Phil

      Who would trade for Green at that contract is what I'm wondering? Every other team can watch him play just like we do. If you ran a team, would you take him for free if the Celtics offered him to you? I know I wouldn't, and I doubt any other team would either; you'd have to take back someone else with negative value.

      The best fit I can come up with is something like Green to Washington for Trevor Ariza. Ariza is a bad player having a worse year, but his deal runs for two years less than Green's, so it would expire before you have to start rebuilding without KG (unlike Green's deal.) Ariza is slumping right now (so he's not 'this' bad,) but his numbers are still better than Green. There's at least a distant history of him not being a terrible defender either.

      From Washington's side, they've proven that they're susceptible to taking on bad players on bad contracts (hello, Ariza.) They could sell the Jeff Green experience to their fans, and a lot of fans buy in for some reason (I'm still laughing at the backlash I got this offseason for saying Green sucked.) He probably even would do better in a small market on a bad team where no one cares. They get out of the Ariza money pit, and take on a player with (perceived) upside.

      This would never happen obviously, because we know Ainge's bedroom is covered with Jeff Green posters, and this deal requires admitting he's a bust, but this is the kind of deal you should be expecting if you trade Green.