at Boston Celtics (0-1) at Atlanta Hawks (1-0)
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Round 1 Game #2, Road Game #2
TV: NBA-TV, CSNNE, FSSO, TSN
Radio: WEEI, WCNN
Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Avery Bradley vs Jeff Teague Shooting Guard
Mickael Pietrus vs Kirk Hinrich Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Joe Johnson Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Josh Smith Center
Kevin Garnett vs Jason Collins Celtics Reserves
Mickael Pietrus Injured
Rajon Rondo (brain fart) suspended
Ray Allen (ankle) out Hawks Reserves
Zaza Pachulia (foot) day to day
Al Horford (Pectoral) out Team Season Stats
Points per Game
Celtics 91.8..............Hawks 96.6
Rebounds per Game
Celtics 38.8..............Hawks 41.2
Assists per Game
Celtics 23.6..............Hawks 22.4
Field Goal Percentage
Celtics 46.0%...........Hawks 45.4%
Free Throw Percentage
Celtics 77.8%...........Hawks 74.0%
3 Point Percentage
Celtics 36.7%...........Hawks 37.0%Key Matchups
Brandon Bass vs Josh Smith
Whether it is Bass or switch KG on Smith, they must do a better job of defending him. Smith went off for 22 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in game 1. That should never be. In past games this season, the Celtics were able to hold him to 11 points below his season average but they simply didn't get the job done in game 1. They must defend Smith better and also box out to keep him off the boards.
Paul Pierce vs Joe Johnson
Both Pierce and Johnson had terrible games in the opener. Johnson shot 3-15 from the field for 11 points and was 0-9 from beyond the arc. Pierce shot 5-19 for 12 points and was 0-6 from the line. Both missed many wide open shots. With Rondo out, Pierce will need to help facilitate the offense and play point forward. If either of these two get hot, it could be the difference between a win or a loss for their team. Honorable Mention
Avery Bradley vs Jeff Teague
With Rondo out, Avery needs to be aggressive and set the pace of the game. They will also need his scoring and his defense on Teague who lit the Celtics up for 15 points in game 1, including a couple of huge 3 pointers down the stretch.
The Celtics come into this game short handed. With Rondo out, they are missing their engine. Others will have to step up their game to make up for his absence. Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley will especially have to pick it up. Paul Pierce is another player who may take on more of the ball handling duties as well.
Ray is still considered day to day but there isn't a lot of optimism that we will see him in this game, although they sure could use him. Pietrus will start in the back court with Bradley to make up for Rondo's absence. I imagine that we will see more of Sasha or maybe even Moore in this game off the bench. Remember when Doc said that one of the subs would have to come up big for us at some point in the playoffs? Well that time has come sooner than later.
The Celtics must come out with a better effort to start the game. They came out flat in game 1 and dug a hole that they never could dig their way out of. They have to come out strong and jump on the Hawks right from the start. And they have to play hard right until the final buzzer.
I expect the Celtics to pull together and have a better game. They have been here before, playing without their point guard or other key players. They have proved in the past that they can overcome adversity with heart. They are 8-5 without Rondo this season and hopefully they can pull together and make it 9-5 after this game. Keys to the GameDefense
- Defense is key to every win, especially in the playoffs. Teams that don't ramp up their defense in the playoffs don't win. It's as simple as that. The Celtics need to play tough team defense. They have to guard the perimeter as the Hawks have good 3 point shooters who can kill a team from out there. They also have to defend the paint because players like Smith and Johnson and Johnson can get to the hoop and score there, especially on tip ins. Rebound
- The Celtics must make an effort to go after rebounds. The Celtics were out rebounded 50-41 in game 1. They must box out and prevent tip ins and to prevent the Hawks from getting second chance baskets. They simply must do a better job of crashing the board and chasing down rebounds. No rebounds, no wins. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to go after rebounds and loose balls. They must be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers. They also have to be aggressive on defense and get stops. They came out flat in game 1 and allowed Atlanta to be the more aggressive team. The Celtics must play like they want it more.
- The Celtics need to keep their focus for 48 minutes. They have to take care of the ball and not make careless passes. They have to make their free throws. And they have to play as a team and not lapse into hero ball with each one trying to make up for their missing teammates. They also must play through any bad calls by the ref. They can't let officials take them out of their game.
- The Celtics bench is thin with Ray out and one of the reserves moving up to replace Rondo in the starting lineup. The remaining players must pick up the scoring slack and give the Celtics some production off the bench. Doc played just 9 players in game one and got just 4 points from the reserves compared to 17 from the Hawks. The Celtics reserves did out rebound the Hawks reserves 13 -12 with 9 rebounds coming from Greg Stiemsma. Run the Offense
- The Celtics must run their offense. They have to move the ball and find the open man. Good ball movement opens up good shot opportunities. If the jumpers aren't falling, they have to find a way to get to the basket and either score or draw a foul. Good things happen when they go to the hoop. They can't lapse into bad shots or trying to do too much individually to make up for Rondo's absence. They have to continue to run plays and move the ball. X-Factor
Pride and Officiating
If Celtic Pride means anything to these players, they will come ready to play and come out strong and focused and play hard for 45 minutes. We have seen in game 1 how a referee can change the game. One plus is that hopefully we won't see Marc Davis again this round. But that doesn't mean they will call the game fairly either.