After seven wins in a row, the Boston Celtics are finally playing great team basketball through an easier part of the schedule. Tonight, they face off against the Atlanta Hawks at home in another game they should win. Boston comes into this game off their overtime win in Washington D.C. when Kyrie Irving completely took over that game hitting two huge threes to put the game out of reach. It was a great win to keep this streak rolling.
The Hawks and Celtics have already played each other a few weeks back in Atlanta, and the Celtics won that match up 114-96. In that game, it was a full team performance as six Celtics scored in double digits with Aron Baynes being the leading scorer.
Tonight, it will be a treat for the Boston fans to see rookie Trae Young for the first time of the season. He will be coming into Boston averaging 15.7 points per game shooting only 38.2% from the field and a concerning 24.7% from three. It is definitely not the start to the season he wanted, but Trae Young has the ability to get hot in an instant especially playing in front of a big time Friday night Boston crowd in TD Garden. His swoon in percentages may be a blessing in disguise, so the national media will stop the comparisons to Steph Curry. It’s an unfair comp for a rookie just three months into his professional career. The Celtics will need to make sure to key in on him tonight.
As for the Celtics, it will hopefully be more of the same successes they have seen over the past seven games. The offense has been very impressive since Thanksgiving with many players understanding their role on this team. Injuries have made things a bit easier on the decisions with minute distribution.
For tonight, Al Horford will be out again with his nagging knee injury. The inspiring play from Robert Williams could make the decision to keep Horford out much easier. Danny Ainge explained the Celtics’ cautious recovery plan surrounding Horford weighing the future of the season over the present.
Other than Horford, look for Guerschon Yabusele to also be out for a few weeks with an ankle injury. Tonight, Jaylen Brown will still be questionable as he is still trying to get over his illness. The good news is Gordon Hayward will be off the injury report and plans to play against the Hawks. For Atlanta, they will be without Miles Plumee, Taurean Prince, Omari Spellman, and Alex Poythress. As for the questionable players for tonight for the Hawks: Jermey Lin is battling a back injury.
The starters for Boston will be the same five Stevens has found his most success with in this run with the Marcuses. It will again be the best call with Hayward, and hopefully Brown if healthy, coming off the bench creating a deep and talented lineup staggering minutes around everyone’s new role. We should see this success continue against this Hawks team especially with the Celtics playing in front of their home crowd.
PG – Kyrie Irving – Trae Young
SG – Marcus Smart – Kent Bazemore
SF – Jayson Tatum – Kevin Huerter
PF – Marcus Morris Sr. – John Collins
C – Aron Baynes – Dewayne Dedmon
Boston – Al Horford (Knee); Jaylen Brown (Illness); Guerschon Yabusele (Ankle)
Atlanta – Miles Plumlee (Knee); Omari Spellman (Hip); Taurean Prince (Ankle); Jeremy Lin (Back); Alex Poythress (Ankle)
How To Watch
Time – 7:00 EST
TV – NBC Sports Boston