Boston Celtics (2-2) at Atlanta Hawks (2-2)
Tuesday, April 26. 2016
8:30 PM ET
Round 1 Game #5 Road Game #3
TV: TNT, CSNNE, FSSE, TSN4/5
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 92.9 FM The Game
Referees: Mike Callahan, Pat Fraher, John Goble
The series now shifts back to Atlanta with the teams tied at two wins each. The Celtics got off to slow starts and struggled in their first two games in Atlanta. They staged a comeback in the first game only to lose by 1 point. The Hawks led from wire to wire in the second game and the Celtics weren't in the game at all.
But when the series shifted to Boston, Brad Stevens made a change in the starting lineup which seemed to make a big difference. With Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner in the starting lineup, they were able to spread the floor and create more space for Isaiah Thomas to get to the hoop. Jerebko averaged 13.5 points and 11 rebounds and Evan averaged 17 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 3 steals in the two starts in Boston and the Celtics will need them to keep playing at a high level to get a win on the road.
The Celtics were a different team in Boston and hopefully they will bring that same toughness and hustle back with them as they come back to Atlanta for game 5. The Celtics shot 44.3% in Boston and only 34.2% in Atlanta. The Celtics are 0-4 this season in Atlanta and have lost their last 6 games at Philips Arena. The Celtics need to come out strong and get off to a good start as the Hawks will more than likely play well back in their home arena.
Avery Bradley is expected to once again be out for this game. Kelly Olynyk returned for game 4 after missing two games but only played sparingly. He is expected to be available for this game as well. Jae Crowder is still dealing with the ankle sprain that kept him out for 8 games down the stretch but is expected to play in this game.
For the Hawks, Tiago Splitter is still out with the hip injury. Kent Bazemore is dealing with stiffness in his knee but is expected to play. Al Horford is dealing with a groin strain and played in game 4 and should play in this game as well. Dennis Schroder sprained his ankle in game 3 but played in game 4 and is expected to play in game 5 as well.
Probable Starting Matchups
Isaiah Thomas vs Jeff Teague
Evan Turner vs Kent Bazemore
Jae Crowder vs Kyle Korver
Jonas Jerebko vs Paul Millsap
Amir Johnson vs Al Horford
Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) probable
Avery Bradley (hamstring) out
Jae Crowder (ankle) probable
Tim Hardaway Jr
Tiago Splitter (hip) out
Kent Bazemore (knee) probable
Al Horford (groin) probable
Dennis Schroder (ankle) probable
Amir Johnson/Jonas Jerebko vs Al Horford/Paul Millsap
The Celtics bigs have got to defend well against the Hawks big men. Millsap and Horford can hit from outside and are also very strong going to the basket. Millsap wasn't a big factor in games 1-3 but in game 4 he came up huge with 45 points until Brad Stevens put Marcus Smart on him to limit him to 4 points over the last 14 minutes and no points in overtime. Horford missed practice on Saturday with a groin injury but played in game 4 although he wasn't much of a factor. He is expected to play in this game as well and may be more of a factor than he was in Boston. Jonas in the starting lineup paid big dividends in game 3 and 4 and they need to continue to play hard, hit their shots and limit the effectiveness of the Hawks' big men.
Isaiah Thomas vs Jeff Teague
Teague is a handful for anyone to guard but the Celtics did a decent job of matching his scoring and then some in games 3 and 4 with Isaiah having more room to score. It will be key for Isaiah to get his offense going once again. He doesn't need to score 42, but he needs to score and play well for the Celtics to have a chance. Teague may still be smarting after his colossal blunder on the final possession of regulation in game 4 and may come out determined to have a big game.
Jae Crowder vs Kyle Korver
After being ineffective in the final game of the regular season and in game 1 of the series, Korver has found his shot and has hit 5 threes for 17 points two games in a row and 3 threes in game 4. He has shot 52% from beyond the arc in the last 3 games. Jae has been working hard to try to find his own shot while still dealing with the sore ankle that has been affecting his shot. He shot better in game 4 but still needs to improve more, especially to get a win on the road. Jae needs to limit Korver's open looks while at the same time, knocking down some shots on the other end.
Brad Stevens vs Mike Budenholzer
So far, this has been a chess game between the two coaches with Brad Stevens clearly getting the upper hand so far. Coaching is going to be very important in this game with both coaches trying to make adjustments to counter the adjustments made by the opposing coach both going into the game and throughout all 4 quarters.
Keys to the Game
Start Strong - In the first two games in Atlanta, the Celtics started off slowly and had to fight their way back throughout the game. In game 1 the Celtics fought from 19 down only to come up short in a 1 point loss. The changes to the starting lineup made a big difference in getting them off to a good start in both games in Boston and they will need to come out strong to start this game.
Defense - Defense wins games. It is the key to winning every game. The Celtics miss Avery's defense but need to have every player step up and work harder to get stops as a team. Rozier has been solid on defense in the minutes he's played and Marcus Smart stepped up in a big way on both ends in game 4. They need to step up their defense in this game and get stops on the road like they did at home.
Focus on Offense - The addition of Jerebko and Turner to the starting lineup allowed the Celtics to spread the floor and gave Isaiah more room to get into the paint. The Celtics need to concentrate on making their shots. The Celtics shot just 34% in their two losses and 44% in their two wins. They have to hit their shots and that will take focus on their part.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the team that plays harder and that wants this win more, especially to start the game and then keep it up until the final buzzer. They have to be aggressive in diving for loose balls, in going to the basket, in getting stops on the defensive end, and in going after rebounds. They have to play harder and be more aggressive from start to finish. Their best hope to beat the Hawks is to play harder and with more energy. They have to be the team that wants it more.
Rebound - The Celtics need to put out the extra effort to grab rebounds. The Hawks aren't a great rebounding team and yet they beat the Celtics on the boards in the two losses in games 1 and 2. The Celtics beat the Hawks on the boards in their two wins in games 3 and 4. The Celtics need to box out and fight for every rebound to prevent 2nd chance points for the Hawks and to give themselves extra possessions.
Officiating - I say this every game but the officiating is an x-factor in every single game. We saw this first hand in game 1. The officials favored the Hawks the entire game and even the Hawks fans admitted it in their forums. The league admitted to making 3 crucial bad calls and non-calls against the Celtics in the final 2 minutes of the 1 point loss. I believe if the game was called fairly and competently the Celtics would have won it. Game 2 was slightly one sided toward the Hawks. Games 3 and 4 were decently called but slightly tilted toward the Celtics. If the pattern holds, the Hawks will get the benefit of the calls in this game and the Celtics must play through it and not let the calls take them out of their game.
Focus on the Road - Chances are Hawks fans are going to be loud and the arena will be a hostile environment for the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas is likely to be booed as Schroder was in Boston. The Celtics have to be able to use the hostility and the home team advantage officiating to motivate them to play better and not to take them out of their game. Focus on playing team ball. If they can do that, they can get a win.
Injuries - Both teams are dealing with injuries. The loss of Avery Bradley is the biggest factor for the Celtics but they found a way to make up for his absence in their home games and they need to make it work on the road as well. Both teams have minor injuries to players and the Celtics will need Jae, Isaiah, and Kelly to play through their injuries and play well to get a win on the road.
A veteran of 25 NBA seasons, Mike Callahan has officiated 1,483 regular season, 156 Playoff and 16 NBA Finals games.He was a member of the crews that officiated the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, 1994 Mexico Challenge and the 1996 Schick Rookie Game. Prior to joining the NBA, Callahan spent three years officiating in the CBA, including the 1989 and 1990 CBA Finals. A member of the Cardinal O’Hara High School basketball team for four years, Callahan also coached the freshman basketball team after graduating.
Callahan is one of 4 refs to come out of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Pennsylvania. The other 3 are Joey Crawford, Ed Malloy and Tim Donaghy. Callahan was one of the referees mentioned in an incident in Tim Donaghy's book. He and other refs would regularly wager with their fellow refs over things like who would call the first foul, who could give out the first tech, etc. Makes you wonder what game they might be playing tonight.
Callahan called game 1 of the Cleveland series in last season's playoffs. The refs were terrible in that game. Even the national TV announcers continually pointed out bad calls and how LeBron got away with so much They also mentioned that if LeBron was called for even half of his infractions the game would have changed. Cleveland shot 33 free throws to 22 for the Celtics. He called the second game this season against the Raptors and it was officiated ok as was the win over the Nets. He called the game at Denver where there were bad calls both ways all game but more seemed to go against the Celtics with the Celtics ending with 20 free throws to 34 for the Nuggets.
He called the Celtics' February win over the Heat. The refs missed a few calls both ways but overall let them play and pretty much called it even. He also called the win over Miami in May and again, they pretty much let them play both ways. As with most refs, Callahan can be good or he can be very, very bad. He usually lets the teams play and isn't a tyrant with the whistle but still makes some head scratching calls from time to time. The Celtics are 5-2 this season and 6-4 over the last 10 games with Callahan. The Hawks are 4-1 this season and 8-2 over their last 10 games with Callahan. His home W/L record this season is 33-33.
Pat Fraher has officiated 856 regular season NBA games and 22 Playoff games entering his 15th season in the NBA. Prior to joining the NBA, Fraher officiated for seven years in the CBA, where he worked the CBA Finals and All-Star game. In addition, Fraher spent four years with the WNBA, where he officiated playoff games in both the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals. Fraher also has two years of collegiate officiating experience with the NSIC and 10 years of experience as a high school official in his home state of Minnesota.
The Celtics are 3-0 this season and 4-6 over their last 10 games with Fraher. He hasn't been particularly good or bad in the past and for the most part has been a decent ref other than a few games that stand out. One game vs Cleveland in last season's playoffs even the national TV announcers mentioned several times where LeBron was allowed to get away with travels and fouls that weren't called. In a game vs the Knicks this season, the officiating was bad both ways. They called 2 very questionable flagrant fouls - one on Carmelo Anthony and one on Amir Johnson. The officiating was bad both ways but the Knicks got the slight better of it. 28 free throws for the Knicks to 17 for the Celtics. The last game he called was the win over the Bucks in February. They missed a lot of contact on both teams in that game. Isaiah especially was mugged with no calls but the Celtics ended up getting the best of it with 33 free throws to 25 for the Bucks. The Hawks are 3-2 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games officiated by Fraher. His home W/L record this season is 37-23.
John Goble enters his ninth season having officiated 514 regular season games and 28 playoff games. He also officiated the 2010 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophmore game. Prior to working in the NBA, Goble officiated 104 games over four seasons in the NBA D-League and was selected to officiate the 2007 Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Southeastern Conference, where he was a tournament official in 2006 and 2007, and the Sunshine State Conference.
In the past, Goble has been good in some games and terrible in others. He was the referee who called the clothesline on Barbosa in a Nets game 3 seasons ago a regular foul. He also called a foul at the end of that game on an obvious clean steal that could have changed the outcome of the game. In a Clippers game two seasons ago, he ignored fouls by the Clippers and called phantom fouls on the Celtics all game. Tommy made the comment that the Celtics had no shot to win after the officiating took over. Last season, against the Timberwolves, the officiating was terrible and the Wolves shot 32 free throws to 9 for the Celtics.
In the last game he called for the Celtics last season against the Pacers, there were quite a few head scratching calls prompting Tommy to yell "That's terrible" several times. This season at Detroit, the officiating was pretty good and they let them play with 25 free throws for the Pistons and 23 for the Celtics. He was also one of the refs along with Fraher in the Bucks game mentioned above. The Celtics are 3-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Goble and the Hawks are 4-1 this season and 8-2 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 36-34.
Hawks at Celtics Round 1 Game 5 Game Thread
The series shifts to Atlanta where the Celtics look for their first road win over the Hawks this season.
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