For anyone that thought the Boston Celtics would sweep the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, and maybe even bet that to happen; you got a rude awakening Friday night. The Hawks found a way back into the series with a 130-122 win over the Celtics, trimming the series to 2-1, in favor of Boston.
Game four is on Sunday night and there’s a lot riding on the game for both teams. For the Celtics, it’s about taking a firm hold on the series and hopefully ending it in Boston. But for the Hawks, it’s the fact that they can make it a best of three, should they repeat their game three performance.
So let’s make some predictions for game four of the Celtics-Hawks series.
Boston Celtics put more of an emphasis on defense in Game 4
Giving up 130 points defensively is never a strategy for success. For the Boston Celtics, they learned this the hard way.
The backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray combined for 57 points in the win for Atlanta. It looked as though the guards were working off a high pick-and-roll and then either pulling up or driving and dishing.
For the Celtics guards like Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon; it’s all about communicating and putting more pressure on the two Atlanta guards. If you can put pressure on them like you did in games one and two, then the Celtics will be just fine.
Boston Celtics put more of an emphasis on rebounding
One thing that has continuously killed the Celtics in this series so far has been rebounding. We’ve seen the Hawks get numerous second, third, and even fourth chances on offense. That is a recipe for losing basketball.
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Sometimes with this Celtics team, we see a lack of focus and effort when they feel like they should walk all over a team. That’s the same thing with rebounding in this series against the Hawks.
Guys like Robert Williams and Al Horford should be able to get down low and end Hawks possessions after one missed shot. The way the Hawks are able to stay with the Celtics is getting those multiple opportunities in an offensive possession. So simply put, rebound more efficiently and you should be fine.
I simply don’t see the Boston Celtics losing two games in a row to the Atlanta Hawks. but should the Hawks win on Sunday night and tie the series at two games a piece, then we have bigger problems to discuss.
Atlanta has to have a really good shooting night in order to beat the Celtics. Keep in mind, they only won by eight and it was closer until the final minute!
Should the Celtics take care of their defense and rebounding, they should have no problem bouncing back in Game 4. But should they be careless and continue to lose focus on these inferior teams, then bad losses can continue to happen.
Game four prediction: Celtics beat Hawks 117-108.