Recapping their Regular Season Meetings
The two teams met four times during the regular season with the Hawks winning three of the four. The Celtics took the first meeting back in mid-November at TD Garden up in Boston with a margin of victory of 13. The Hawks got their revenge just 11 days later when the two met in Atlanta and the Hawks ran away with the game with final of 121 to 97.
They would then meet up roughly three weeks later in Boston with the Hawks coming out on top with an eight-point victory.
The last meeting between the two, however, did not come until nearly the end of the season, actually the Hawks regular-season finally, with the Hawks winning by 11.
In the four meetings, the Hawks averaged scoring 110 points with the only time that they did not reach 100 being when they lost the first matchup by a score of 106 to 93. The Celtics averaged scoring close to 103 per contest, with the Hawks averaging outscoring the Celtics by 7.5.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks in scoring in the four games by averaging 22.5 points per game and leading the Hawks in all but one of the contests when Al Horford scored 21 while Millsap put up 20. The Celtics were led in scoring by Isaiah Thomas, who either tied for the lead in scoring or led the team outright in three of the four by averaging 20.5 per game.
Game 1: Saturday, April 16 @ 7 pm on ESPN in Atlanta
Game 2: Tuesday, April 19 @ 7 pm on TNT in Atlanta
Game 3: Friday, April 22 @ 8 pm on ESPN2 in Boston
Game 4: Sunday, April 24 @ 6 pm on TNT in Boston
Game 5: Tuesday, April 26 @ TBD on TBD in Atlanta (if necessary)
Game 6: Thursday, April 28 @ TBD on TBD in Boston (if necessary)
Game 7: Saturday, April 30 @ TBD on TBD in Atlanta (if necessary)
What to Watch
The Celtics had lots of scoring threats this season with six players averaging in double-figures in points per game on the season: Thomas (22.2); Avery Bradley (15.2); Jae Crowder (14.2); Evan Turner (10.5); Jared Sullinger (10.3); and Kelly Olynyk (10).
The Hawks do counter with five of their own, however: Millsap (17.1); Jeff Teague (15.7); Horford (15.2); Kent Bazemore (11.6); and Dennis Schroder (11). (Kyle Korver averaged only 9.2 per game this season)
Isaiah Thomas played excellent against the Hawks this season by averaging the 20.5 points per game as well as dishing out six assists per meeting, including one game where had 10. Crowder also had at least seven rebounds in three of the four games.
Paul Millsap has definitely been the MVP of the Hawks this season (he was one of the two Hawk all-stars, along with Horford) and he led the team in points (17) and rebounds (9) per game on the season. But Millsap was even better than his season averages when he played the Celtics this season. He averaged over five more points per game (22.1) and a whole other rebound (10.25) per game more than he did during the regular season.
The Hawks handled the Celtics pretty well this season, so I see the Hawks winning the series in five games…six at the most.