Celtics/Hawks First Round Face-Off
*Photo via AJC
The 4-5 matchup in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs features the Atlanta Hawks facing off against the Boston Celtics. This very well may be the most evenly matched up face-off in the postseason.
This series looks to be going six, if not seven games. Although Atlanta went 3-1 against the Celtics during their regular season matchups, the playoffs tend to bring out different outcomes that the C’s will be poised to take on.
In the Celtics three losses to the Hawks, Marcus Smart was inactive due to injury. The erratic point guard can be the x-factor in this series if he shows up and plays controlled and perceptive basketball against a disciplined Hawks team. The Celtics can thrive off of Smart’s play along with the rest of their talented backcourt. They can win this series if their grit and tenacity consistently show through their defense. The Hawks can ensure a first round win if they limit Isaiah Thomas’ activity, being that the C’s offense runs through him.
This matchup could come down to the games within the game. There is the astute coaching of Brad Stevens versus last seasons COY, Mike Budenholzer, the all-star point guard face-off of Isaiah Thomas against Jeff Teague, and the face-off of very old-school and new-school seven-footers. There is also the battle of which team will capitalize on their own home court. The C’s have a one game advantage at home, while the Hawks have the one game advantage on the road, which will make for a very hard-fought series on both ends.
*Photo via CSSNE
These are two very different teams with identical records. The Hawks are an established, veteran group with collective playoff experience, whereas the Celtics are a young, up-and-coming team ready to make some noise. To put the Celtics lack of playoff experience and success in perspective, Avery Bradley is the only current player with a playoff win under his belt.
But the playoffs are where stars are born and legends are made, and that is exactly what the Celtics are looking to achieve as a team. And although critics may malign the green for lacking that one special player, Celtics forward Jae Crowder appropriately counters with, “We’re one superstar.”