Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics Odds, Pick & Preview: Celtics Defense Will Lock Down Trae Young (March 1)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics.
- The Hawks visit the Celtics in Boston as road underdogs.
- Can you trust the Celtics and their elite defense to cover against the Hawks?
- Jacob McKenna breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Hawks vs. Celtics Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Boston is continuing its surge in the Eastern Conference, going 8-2 in its last 10 games and sitting just one game back from the No. 4 seed.
Even with Atlanta sitting in 10th in the East, this is a game that has the potential to impact seeding throughout the Eastern Conference. Will we see Boston move closer to the top, or will the Hawks put themselves in a better position to make a late-season run?
Hawks Still Showing Promise
Despite their underwhelming record, especially after coming off of a season in which they made the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks have still shown a lot of promise in some areas.
Entering this matchup, Atlanta has an Offensive Rating of 114.0, which is the second best mark in the NBA this season. As a team Atlanta is shooting 47% from the floor overall and 37.7% from behind the arc.
The issues come on the defensive end, which is an area of their game that has not seen much improvement as the season has gone on.
According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Hawks have posted an overall Defensive Rating of 113.1, which ranks them 26 of 30 teams. That rating has increased slightly in their last 10 games to 114.1, which is a direction Atlanta can’t afford to head in at this point of the season.
With guys like Trae Young, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and De’Andre Hunter on the floor, the offensive potential has an unlimited ceiling. However, as we’ve seen for much of the season, if Atlanta can’t get similar production from those guys on the defensive end, the Hawks struggle to remain competitive.
Celtics Defense Remains Elite
The Boston Celtics went on quite the run prior to the All-Star break, which was led mostly by their tremendous defense.
The Celtics have been by far the best defensive team in the NBA in their last ten games, posting a Defensive Rating of 101.0. In that span of time, Boston has held their opponent to under 106 points in eight of those ten games, which included holding the Hawks to 95 points back on Feb. 13.
However, their recent success on defense is nothing new. In fact, it has been a theme for a majority of the season.
Through 63 games, Boston has held its opponents to shooting just 43% from the floor, the best mark in the NBA. They’ve also held opponents to just 34% from behind the arc, which is a major improvement from last seasons percentage of 37.4.
Their length on the perimeter with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum has done wonders on both ends of the floor, and they receive tremendous support from Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Robert Williams. They should continue to cause problems in this one.
The Hawks and Celtics have already met three times this season, with the Hawks winning twice. However, I think Boston has the edge in this matchup.
For one thing, Lou Williams is already listed as out, and it appears that John Collins is likely to join him on the sidelines. Atlanta was going to need all of the offensive help it could get in order to to break through the Boston defense, so having both of those guys out is certainly not ideal.
That means it is likely going to be Trae Young who we see take on much more of the offensive load, but in three games against the Celtics this season he is shooting just 33% from the floor and 22% from three.
As a result, I think it is likely we see a fully healthy Celtics roster take control of this game with their defense once again, leading to a win on their home court.
Pick: Celtics -6.5 (-110)