a blog by Big Red
The Celtics vs. Hawks series starts tonight at 7 pm eastern time on ESPN. Tune in for a great series between two teams with the exact same regular season record of 48-34.
So the Celtics capped off the regular season last Wednesday with a spectacular comeback win against the Heat, 98-88. In fact, the Celtics win against the Heat was the largest comeback win by any NBA team this season. For most teams in this league, a 26 point deficit would easily be a loss, but not for the Celts. I had faith throughout the game that even if we wouldn't win, we would at least cut the 26 point deficit to about 5. The Celtics 3rd quarter Wednesday night, was the exact type of intensity that we need from them from here on out. The Celtics went on a 20-0 run in the 3rd, forcing the Heat to go 8 minutes without a score. To tell you I was flipping out, was such an understatement. I was minutes away from turning off the game, when all of a sudden a little momentum hit us, and from there the rest is history. Here is a 6 minute highlight of the game, and trust me it's worth a watch.
Great game, and the exact type of win that we were looking for heading into the playoffs. While we don't have home court advantage, this win gives this team a lot of confidence heading into the first round. The Atlanta Hawks are a great team, and have a lot of scoring threats. We all know Paul Milsap can go off at anytime, as we learned last week with his 31 points and 16 rebounds in their last meeting. In addition, they have Al Horford who stretches the floor with his dead eye shooting, and do i even have to mention Kyle Korver? The Celtics will need to limit the Hawks perimeter shooting if they want to try and steal game 1 or 2. In my opinion, if we are going to win this series, we have to steal a game early on. If we force this series to 7, it will be tough to win a game 7 in Atlanta.
lets take a look at some of the key matchups
Isaiah Thomas vs. Jeff Teague: A huge matchup, that if you ask me favors the Celtics. It's no surprise Isaiah is having the best season of his career, and hes going to need to play even better than he ever has if we want to advance past the first round. Teague is a shifty guard who has a pretty decent outside shot. While we can't sag off him, and give him open looks, Isaiah needs to be careful not to get beat to the basket. If the Celtics can win this match up each night, it will definitely give us a huge advantage to win the series.
Avery Bradley vs. Kyle Korver: Tonight one of the best shooters this league has seen, faces off one of the toughest on ball defenders. Kyle Korver, part time shooting guard part time Abrecrombie model, looks to tear apart the Celtics defense using his three point shooting ability. If Avery is able to lock down Kyle Korver and pressure all his shots, the Celtics have a great chance at taking this game. Hopefully we see a little Mr. First Quarter out of Avery tonight. When the Celtics get Avery good shots in the first quarter we usually have a great night. Keep an eye out for this match up all series long, because it truly may be the most important one.
My final KEY matchup- Jared Sullinger vs. Al Horford: There's no doubt Al Horford continues to improve his game year in and year out. This season, adding a lethal 3 point shot to his game. While Sullinger is a fairly good defender for his size, we are going to need him to step up this series. If the Celtics are going to win, a lot of stats need to fall in our favor. Maybe the most important stat of all, being our rebounding. It's no news to the Celtics that when we lose, we typically get crushed on the boards. Horford and Milsap are going to be a lot for the Celtics to handle this series, and were going to need Sullinger to control the boards all night long. In addition, the Celtics need Sullinger to take smarter shots on the offensive end. We all know Sullinger likes to chuck up 3's at what always feels like the worst time, and we can't let that happen in the playoffs.
This series either win or lose will be highly entertaining. These two teams are pretty evenly matched, and I feel like were in for a tough ride. Tune in tonight at 7 pm eastern time on ESPN to watch Game 1.
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