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Game 61: Hawks (34-26) @ Celtics (33-27) Open Thread

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/nba/players/full/2011.png&w=350&h=254Atlanta at Boston
8:00 P.M. ET
TD Garden


Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 100.4 points/100 possessions (21st)
102.6 points/100 possessions (15th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 99.3 points allowed/100 possessions (5th)
 101.3 points allowed/100 possessions (9th)

Probable Hawks Starters:
Jeff Teague (PG), DeShawn Stevenson (SG), Kyle Korver (SF), Josh Smith (PF), and Al Horford (C)

View From The Opposing Bench: HawksHoop

Thumbnail: The last time the Celtics faced the Hawks, Kyle Korver tied the NBA record by making eight 3-pointers. After missing his only shot attempt in the first half of that January 25 game, he went on to make eight of his 10 shots from deep in the third and fourth quarters. While the Celtics held Korver scoreless in each of the overtimes, he still was a large reason for the Hawks’ comeback in that game. His 27 points scored in that strong performance at Philips Arena were the most points he has ever scored against the Celtics in 29 tries.

Although Korver can be a defensive liability for Atlanta, he will still force Boston to guard him closely. The Celtics should be up to the test because they have vastly improved their defense over the last few months. Since Rajon Rondo tore his ACL in that game against the Hawks, the Celtics have vaulted their defensive efficiency from a top 10 one to fifth-best in the league this season. In addition, Boston’s 3-point defense has moved from being in the middle of the pack to third-best in the NBA.

As evidenced by their victory a couple days ago, the Celtics are succeeding in 2012-13 when performing well in the rebounding battle. Since Rondo’s injury, Paul Pierce has picked up the slack on the boards, grabbing 8.3 per game. While this is just a 17-game stretch, keep in mind his career-best rebounding season was 7.3 per game. The Pacers, a top-tier rebounding team, only outrebounded the Celtics by three on Wednesday. After the Celtics won that contest, they moved to 22-12 this season when either winning the rebound battle or losing it by five or fewer.

Prediction: Boston rebounds well and then ties Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings. With the win, the Celtics are victories in their ninth consecutive home game, becoming the team’s longest regular season home winning streak in the past four seasons.

Celtics 97, Hawks 91

For more Celtics coverage and pertinent statistics, follow Celtics Hub and Stats Adam Lowenstein on Twitter: @CelticsHub and @StatsAdam

  • JBK


  • Phil725

    Hot start for Josh Smith… good news for the Celtics.

    • hydrofluoric

      Said exactly the same thing. Hot start for Horford though – not so much. And in spite of his shot selection, Josh Smith can be deceptively cerebral.

    • Phil725

      Looks like I was wrong here, Smith pretty much stayed hot :/

  • Phil725

    Anyone else notice Terry getting absolutely no run as a ball handler tonight? I get that Bradley's the point guard and all, but Terry's way better in that role, let him run the offense some when he's in. The halfcourt offense looks choppy, and I think it's partly because they're asking too much of Bradley offensively.

    • Trent

      Terry "turnover " is a finisher and can occasionally get an assist off a pic and roll. But he is not a playmaker or a point guard!

  • JBK

    Does Crawford’s drives look really weird, or is it just me?

  • hydrofluoric

    From watching, I think it's very clear why Atlanta is good on the break. Not only are they sizable (good D/defensive rebounding) but they've also got great athleticism at the guard and front court spots. They can run like crazy.

  • Phil725

    Really weird decision by Doc to go big when everything was already working. Things have fallen apart since Bass and Bradley came back in. Bass is old news, but this has been a pretty poor game for Bradley on both sides by his standards. Go small again, please, it's not like playing Bass at the 4 is gonna improve rebounding…

  • Phil725

    Weird to see the defense falling apart late; Atlanta has scored on 5 straight possessions, and I don't think any of the shots have even been contested.

    • hydrofluoric
      • KillerGymRat

        Thanks for posting this. I was wondering how KG (and the D) could be so out of position to give up an alley oop. They just never happen against us in a half court set. I was surprised how we could give up 2 dunks in such a crucial stretch and wondering how the D was breaking down so badly. But when it's broken down you see how there really is next to nothing you can do to stop it save for playing for the slip and potentially giving up a wide open jumper.

        Those are seriously brilliant plays and give me a new level of respect for Larry Drew and Josh Smith. The timing on that pass is just sick (he's throwing it before the slip even starts). And to see they do it against everyone with the same precision in key moments of games is just awesome. It's basketball at its finest,

        • KillerGymRat

          No surprise it made the highlights. It happens at 1:47 in the video.


          They ran it when they were down 2 with just under a minute to play. Brilliant strategy to pull it out then.

          • KillerGymRat

            Totally geeking out on this, and probably the only one reading this thread at this point, but they ran the second play (the Korver V-cut) in OT down 3 with about 30 seconds to play.

            I thought Smith forced a bad pass (which he kind of did). But now that I see the design of the play and how it is intended to run, it actually fell apart way before the pass. Korver is supposed to run a hard cut all the way into the paint and sell the interior defender (in this case KG) that he is going to run a curl across to the opposite corner to force KG to look away from his man (in this case Horford). Then he's supposed to V-cut back out (presumably looking for a screen to free him up for a 3) drawing KG's attention and getting KG to hedge out on the screen and then Horford sells the screen but slips to the hoop for a wide open dunk/layup.

            In this case, Korver stops the cut short and never even draws KG's attention. So when Horford turns to set the screen Korver isn't there and so instead of being able to slip, he is forced to simply curl and KG is able to watch him the entire way.

            When Smith delivers the pass exactly when the play is designed for him to – KG is in perfect position to deflect the ball.

          • KillerGymRat

            Final geek out for the night. They actually run the reverse of those two plays with Horford making the pass and Smith selling a screen/slip for Teague.

            Larry Drew is f'ing brilliant.

          • hydrofluoric

            Larry Drew last year was actually criticized heavily among Atlanta fans for 1. his uncreative reliance on iso plays for Smith and Johnson and 2. his poor rotational choices.

            Trading Joe Johnson was BIG TIME addition by subtraction for Atlanta. Like when Melo left the Knicks and Linsanity exploded and (I hate to say it) Rondo going down for the Celtics, the rest of the talent really shone through. Horford and Smith are both extremely gifted passers, defenders, and athletes. And then signing Kyle Korver for such a phenomenal price – Danny Ferry really did his team right.

  • KillerGymRat

    Wow. Kinda scratching my head at that last possession. Why not run a variation of what we did in Indy. Is Pierce holding the ball then giving it to KG for a long contested J really what Doc drew up.

    Where is the execution and playcalling from the Indy game. That was a huge win. But it doesn't mean much if we give this game away when we have a chance to both take the season series from ATL but push ahead to the 6th or even 5th spot.

    • Anthony

      I would say JSmoove and Horford are better and quicker defenders than Hibbert and DWest so the play may not work as well.

      • KillerGymRat

        I wouldn't expect the same play. But why degrade in PP iso with the only option being a handoff to KG or Jet for a long 2.

        When the ball moves away from PP in the closing seconds it really puts pressure on the D since they expect the ball to come back to him. Make the D work and give us a higher percentage look.

        • Anthony

          Agreed but the Pierce ISOs also help set up those plays (theoretically). Even in the Indy game, the 3-4 possessions prior to the game winning layup were Pierce ISOs. Same for this game.

  • hydrofluoric

    Avery Bradley just got OBLITERATED off the dribble by Jeff Teague, what the HELL!

    Red Auerbach smiled upon that Jeff Green 3.

  • Phil

    I love AB as much as anyone, but he really shouldn't be in the game right now. He just cost the team another offensive possession by dribbling out the shot clock as he couldn't get around Teague or make any kind of play, then he got blown by for a wide open layup on the other side off a simple hesitation dribble. There will be later games to experiment with AB the PG, but this isn't a good time.

    Huge 3 by Green at least, still comes down to D though.

    • Phil725

      I have no idea why it randomly signed me out…

      Looks like it didn't come down to D though, just came down to raining 3s…. Whatever works is fine with me.

    • Anthony

      Yea, AB wasn't his normal awesome self even on the defensive end. But if you look at the boxscore, he had ALL of the Celts' offensive rebound, which would be 2. Lol. The first was from the KG miss before regulation. The second led to the Pierce 3pt that put us back up by 1.

  • hydrofluoric

    This game is WILD!!!

  • KillerGymRat

    Gooooooooo Jeeeeeeeetttttttt!!!!!!

  • hydrofluoric

    Also I realize this won't be a popular sentiment, but we've really gotten the benefit of the whistle and especially no-calls tonight. Major no-call on the definitive defensive stop there on Horford just now.

    • Phil725

      I thought the officiating was pretty good tonight… which may prove your point, considering I'm biased. I thought they were consistent throughout though, and that's hard to do when they let some contact go early. Usually they either randomly tighten up and screw things up, or the game gets out of control.

      • KillerGymRat

        I'd agree save for Horford getting away with literally throwing Green out of the paint and getting a wide open dunk. It was much worse and more obvious then the one they called on Terry for holding Horford

    • Anthony

      It's rare but I thought the officiating wasn't horrible except for the 2-3 possessions where CLee picked up a couple of fouls. Also, I didn't see any instance where the players were complaining. That's pretty rare in itself.

  • KillerGymRat

    Terrible game. Big win.

    Gotta love both Green and Terry making big shots and feeling confident and comfortable enough in their roles to take them.

  • Phil725

    Second time tonight they set Terry up off the obvious Pierce Iso. This time it led to a game winning foul drawn by Terry. Kudos to Doc for catching on to teams catching on to the Pierce stuff. I love that misdirection.

    Huge finish by Terry, but Pierce and Green made a bunch of plays too. The Cs made it tougher than they had to (and I give a lot of credit to the Hawks, both for playing well offensively, and for making tough shots,) but the Cs got the win in the end, and that's all that counts.

    Edit: They used the Pierce misdirection stuff at the end of the fourth too, but KG just missed. I thought that was a really good shot too; KG's probably over 50% from that spot. That's a ridiculous percentage on a game winning shot.

  • asdf

    6th seed baby !!

  • Anthony

    So glad the Pierce-JSmoove trade didn't go through. Pierce was his solid truthful self while JSmoove, even as well as he played, cost the Hawks the game with the 2 silly turnovers.

    Thank goodness Celts came through with the victory because I did not want to re-live what happened the last time we faced them.

  • Boston Bobby

    It is funny most nights Peirce is the best player on the floor, but he is not an all star. Liked Greens D, his length and ability to stay in front of his man is going to be big it the playoffs. Crawford's effort has impressed, he needs to be caged at times but this is the kind of guy that could steal a playoff game for ya if he can fit in and find a flow with the team. This team is a high energy big away from being scary, to bad Danny couldn't unveil a unknown gem. No Asian gold.