A meaningful game in April….for someone else. The Boston Celtics travel to Philips arena to play the Atlanta Hawks, who are duking it out with the New York Knicks for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Not exactly the most coveted prize, but from a PR standpoint, I am sure Atlanta is trying to make a legitimate playoff push.
In their last 26 games, the Hawks are 6-20 and haven’t shown too many signs that they are going to finish strong. They do have an easy schedule to close the season, while the Knicks have one of the toughest. The C’s have played inspired basketball during stretches, and they get a well-rested Rajon Rondo for tonight’s game. However, they are currently on an eight-game losing streak that has Brad Stevens looking older by the hour.
The only Atlanta Hawk that has looked interested in their games is forward Paul Millsap. Boston has had trouble keeping Millsap out of the paint during their contests this season, and the C’s aren’t playing the best defense in their last eight. Look for Millsap to have another big night in a game that should see both team’s score over 100 points.
Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk continue to play solid basketball. They have carried the team for stretches while the likes of Jeff Green and Brandon Bass have disappeared. Stevens has done a good job trying to get everyone incorporated into the offense, which has showcased some of the younger talent on the squad. Phil Pressey was impressive in his start earlier in the week. Though Rondo is playing, I hope to see more Pressey tonight as a reward for his performance. The roster hasn’t been doing much to convince Danny Ainge that many of the players aren’t expendable. A good showing against a deflated Hawks team could help secure some jobs for next season.
Prediction: Celtics 109, Hawks 104