The Atlanta Hawks will be without Dejounte Murray Tuesday night in Boston as the Celtics aim for the gentleman’s sweep. Murray was suspended by the NBA for detrimental contact after seeking out a ref at the final buzzer, verbally abusing them, and then bumping them with his chest. The suspension is for one game.
The following was released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/6IEAnN4Mzj— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 24, 2023
The Hawks as a collective seemed pretty frustrated down the stretch as the referees made certain calls that went Boston’s way. Couple that frustration with the fact that the Celtics were getting to all the 50/50 balls, and you could tell that the Hawks could feel control slipping away. That frustration bubbled up as Murray confronted one of the referees before being restrained by a teammate while yelling at another referee.
This is a pretty big blow for the Hawks, especially with Trae Young being cold from the field this series when it counts. Murray has scored over 20 points in each of the four games so far this series. His best game came in Game 2 when he dropped 29 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. He was having an impact in Game 4 before things started to slip away for the Hawks as they were unable to get past the hump.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had a slow start to the series, but since Game 3, he’s been much more effective off the bench. He’ll likely step into the starting lineup in Murray’s absence, unless Atlanta wants to add more length and strength on the wing to handle Derrick White (who’s been spectacular), Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. John Collins has had a very bad series so far, so Atlanta will look to him as well to supplement the lost talent.
For the Celtics, everyone is still healthy. To help ensure that, they’ll want to dispatch the Hawks early so that they can move on to the second round. Closeout games are never easy, especially when letting your guard down against a team missing a key contributor. If they can stay focused, they’ll be ready to start Game 1 of the second round on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Game 5 is tomorrow night on TNT at 7:30 p.m. ET as the Celtics lead the series 3-1.