at Boston Celtics (15-17) at Atlanta Hawks (20-11)
Saturday, January 5, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Game #33 Road Game #17
TV: CSNNE, SPSO, NBAC, NBA-LP 751(BOS)/752(ATL)
Radio: WEEI, WCNN
Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jeff Teague Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Lou Williams Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Kyle Korver Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Josh Smith Center
Kevin Garnett vs Al Horford Celtics Reserves
Chris Wilcox (thumb) out
Fab Melo (concussion) out
Kris JosephHawks Reserves
DeShawn Stevenson Injuries
Anthony Morrow (hip) questionable
Johan Petro (flu) questionable
Devin Harris (foot) questionableTeam Connections
Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo both attended Oak Hill Academy…
Doc Rivers played for Atlanta from 1983-91
Rivers also holds the Hawks record for most assists in a career as a Hawk (3,866)
Celtics Assistant Coach Armond Hill played for the Hawks from 1976-80 and also during the 1983-84 season
Hawks Assistant Coach Lester Conner was an Assistant Coach with the Celtics from 1998-2004
Jason Collins played for Atlanta from 2009-12
Courtney Lee and Devin Harris were teammates in New Jersey during the 2008-09 season
Jason Terry and Devin Harris were teammates in Dallas from 2004-08
DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Terry were teammates in Dallas from 2009-11
Chris Wilcox and Johan Petro were teammates in Seattle and Oklahoma City from 2005-09
Celtics Assistant Coach Tyronn Lue played for Atlanta from 2004-08.Key Matchups
Brandon Bass vs Josh Smith
Smith is a very athletic and quick power forward and Brandon must box out and keep Smith off the boards along with slowing him down on offense. Smith is an average defender, though and so Bass should be able to get his shot off. Smith is averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game so Bass will need to be aggressive on defense to keep Smith from having a big game.
Rajon Rondo vs Jeff Teague
Teague is a good point guard and is averaging 13.2 points and 6.7 assists per game. Both are quick and both see the court well and so this should be a fun matchup to watch. Rondo played aggressively on both ends of the court against the Pacers. Hopefully he brings that same aggression to this game. Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Al Horford
With KG's move back to center, he will be matched up with Al Horford. is playing very well, averaging 16.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. KG played a very aggressive and physical game against the Pacers and hopefully he will have enough in the tank to do the same vs Horford.
The Celtics travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks in the first of 4 meetings this season. The Celtics are coming off an impressive win over the Pacers at home while the Hawks are coming off an 85-84 loss to Detroit at home. Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games. The Hawks are a league best 7-1 in back to back games. The Celtics.... not so much.
Boston won the series 2-1 last season but all 3 games were close. The Celtics won by 3 points and by 2 points in overtime while the Hawks won their game by 5. Every game between these two teams seems to end up being chippy. There is no love lost between them, that is for sure.
Some of the faces have changed since last season. Joe Johnson is no longer there to catch on fire in the 4th quarter. Jason Collins was their starting center when the Celtics last played them in the regular season. The Celtics finally have their starting 5 back from last year and they looked good in the Pacers game but consistency has been a problem for them all year long.
The Hawks are a good road team with an 11-5 record at Phillips Arena. The Celtics have been the opposite on the road with a 5-11 record away from the Garden. The Celtics are now 3-7 in their last 10 games while the Hawks are 6-4 in their last 10.
The Celtics are back into 8th in the East (3rd in the Atlantic), one game ahead of the Sixers who lost last night. Atlanta is 3rd in the East (2nd in the Southeast), 2 games behind Miami at the top.
The Celtics showed that they are capable of playing tough defense from start to finish and playing a solid offensive game as well. The big question is whether or not they can find some consistency and do it again in the next game. They will need to if they want to beat this tough Atlanta team at home.
Keys to the GameDefense
- Defense is key to every win. The Celtics need to play tough team defense. We saw that the Celtics are capable of playing that type of defense in the Pacers game but can they do it 2 nights in a row? 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, Horford and Pachulia can get to the hoop and score there, especially on tip ins. Rebound
- The Celtics must make an effort to go after rebounds. They must box out and prevent tip ins and to prevent the Hawks from getting second chance baskets. The Hawks are a good rebounding team, but not great as they rank 23rd in the league in that category. The Celtics showed against the Pacers, who are a great rebounding team, that when they put out the effort, they can hold their own on the boards. 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. We saw all of this in the Pacers game. Hopefully they will bring it again in this game. Bench Play
- The Celtics got 39 points from their bench in their win over the Pacers. Lee and Barbosa shot the ball very well. Terry and Green still struggled with their shot and hopefully they can snap out of their slumps just as Lee seems to have done. Sully was just 2-7 but he got to the line for 6 free throws. He was once again aggressive on the boards, grabbing 10 rebounds and that is important. The Celtics need production from their bench because the starters can't do it alone. X-Factor
Back to Back on the Road
Both teams are playing in back to back games. The Hawks are a younger team and were at home for both games while the Celtics needed to travel after their win. Can the Celtics bring the same intensity two games in a row?