Scouting Report: Boston Celtics

Monday, December 30, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics

The Hawks march on without Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll or John Jenkins as they face the Boston Celtics on New Year’s Eve.  TD garden has been a house of horrors for Atlanta, and they’ll hope to right the ship by closing 2013 with a win.

The Hawks will be tasked with slowing down Boston’s leading scorer Jeff Green without Carroll to help on defense.  Green is a dynamic player who can get to the rim, as evident by his 136 free throw attempts so far.  He can knock down jump shots, but the best bet is still to give him enough cushion to bait him into shooting those, or to double him and force him to give it up.

The Celtics have a trio of good guards in Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Jordan Crawford.  Only one of them (Crawford) is averaging better than 1.3 assists, so these guys are primarily score-first players.  In fact, Boston is last in the league in assists, so the ball has a tendency to stick.  Pressuring the guards and forcing them to give the ball up is likely a recipe for success, because it may lead to them forcing the issue.

Defensively, Boston is very fundamental.  They don’t make a lot of defensive mistakes, and they make it difficult to attack the rim.  The Hawks had trouble getting to the rim in the teams’ first meeting, and it’ll be even more difficult without some key pieces.  Atlanta will have to get creative with guys like Elton Brand, Gustavo Ayon and Pero Antic filling in.

Since Horford’s injury, the Hawks have been shooting a lot of threes, and Boston is fifth best in the NBA at defending the arc.  Hopefully Atlanta can make a few of those and break the TD Garden curse.

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

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