Home defense: Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics preview

Atlanta Hawks logo
Back home at the Garden, up against a familiar face in the Eastern Conference. Anyone remember that awful Korver explosion in the last matchup? It’s definitely time to return the favour, so to speak.

Stat check: The Hawks are 34-26 right now, good for second spot in their division. 4 losses in the last 10 games, 3 of them on the road.

Game time: 09 March 2013, 1200hrs AEDT

Watch it on: NBA League Pass

Roster changes:

  1. Rajon Rondo (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back) are out for the season.
  2. Lou Williams (ACL) is still out.
  3. Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) is doubtful for this game.

Top enemy performers:

  1. Scoring: Al Horford (17.4)
  2. Rebounds: Al Horford (10.0)
  3. Assists: Jeff Teague (7.1)

Keys to the game:

  1. Not imploding: Play with consistency, do not settle into complacent and sloppy defense. Do not give the Hawks a chance to get into the game.
  2. Getting Smoove out of the paint: JSmoove is not The Big Ticket. NBA spatial analyst Kirk Goldsberry has illustrated this pretty clearly – Josh Smith is at his best near the paint, not when he’s jacking long twos. That’s exactly what we want him to take by the way, those clanking jumpers that gives us a long rebound and hopefully, a good shot at transition points.
  3. Cleaning the defensive glass: The Hawks are 26th in the league at offensive rebounding. Is that elite? Nope. Should we be losing defensive rebounds? Nope. Giving them second chances? A definite no.
  4. Stopping the three ball: The Hawks are 5th in the league at making the three shot (38.2%), that counts for something. Do you think the Pitbulls are going to let guys like Korver or Teague have an easy time shooting that ball? Not on your a**. Atlanta have other guys who will try to shoot however (e.g. Smith, Stevenson, Tolliver, Korver, Harris, Jenkins), and it’s going to have to be a team effort that stops the score. I’d expect the C’s to bring that same matchup zone against the Hawks in an attempt to make sure no man goes undefended when shooting from the arc.

This is a good chance for a consecutive fifth win. Defend the home court well, have a strong game and close the Hawks out.

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