Boston at Atlanta
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 94.7 points/100 possessions (26th)
Atlanta: 102.9 points/100 possessions (11th)
Boston: 102.4 points allowed/100 possessions (19th)
Atlanta: 100.2 points allowed/100 possessions (10th)
Probable Hawks Starters:
Jeff Teague (PG), Kyle Korver (SG), DeMarre Carroll (SF), Paul Millsap (PF) & Al Horford (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: HawksHoop
Thumbnail: The Celtics have fought valiantly in each of the last two first halves, but their finishes to these games are the reason that they are currently in arguably the worst stretch in franchise history: L by 13, L by 18, L by 24, L by 11 and L by 15. For the first time ever, a Celtics team has lost five consecutive games by double digits. To make fans of Boston professional basketball feel a little better, the Celtics are not the only team with a streak of that sort this season; earlier this month, the Utah Jazz lost six straight contests by at least 10 points. Oddly enough, the Celtics were one of the teams to defeat the Jazz during that streak. Unfortunately, Boston does not get to face Utah until February.
It is tough to find good teams in the Eastern Conference these days, but for the second consecutive night, the Celtics get to face another one that is above .500. Boston’s only SEGABABA win this season was against the Heat in Florida. The team directly below Miami in the standings is the Celtics’ opponent on Saturday: the Atlanta Hawks, who are winners of six of their last eight. Although this is C’s first meeting against the Hawks this season, the Celtics have had some early-season success against the Southeast Division. Not only have the Celtics averaged more than 101 points per game against teams from that division in 2013-14, but they also have a 3-1 record against them.
With three of the Celtics’ four wins this season coming against this one division, they will hope to continue this strong performance in Atlanta. Philips Arena has been an odd place for the green over the last few years. Each of the previous seven times that the Hawks have hosted the Celtics, the teams have alternated victories. We all remember the last time the Celtics were in the state of Georgia to play a game: Rajon Rondo did something to his right ACL, and the Hawks overcame a 27-point Celtics lead to win in double overtime. What that means is this could be one of those weird 2013-14 Celtics victories. However, it is not going to be easy for this Celtics team though, especially with Brad Stevens having to change his starting frontcourt once again. Kelly Olynyk is officially out Saturday with an ankle sprain, and we have to keep an eye on Jared Sullinger, who is questionable because he is feeling under the weather.
Prediction: At least Jeff Green has been playing very well recently after a brief stretch in which he could not hit the broad side of a barn door. He continues his strong shooting, but the Celtics drop their seventh straight for the first time since 2007.
Hawks 102, Celtics 95
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