The Celtics close out their first round series with a 128-120 win over the Atlanta Hawks in game six at State Farm Arena.
In what was expected to be a four or five game series turned into a stressful six, credit to the Hawks who displayed major heart.
After blasting out of the gates in this series with a 30 point lead in game one, the Celtics looked destined to dispatch the Hawks quickly, and get onto the second round.
Instead the Hawks decided on battling the next five games, forcing the Celtics to win a gut check game six on the road.
Winning game three in Atlanta after a spectacular offensive performance where they scored 130 on 56% shooting, and a game five win due to an incredible fourth quarter by Trae Young leading to a Celtics collapse.
While it did go an unexpected six, it never felt that the Celtics were ever in serious danger in the series, but it did get scary at times.
They controlled the game in three of the four wins, and ultimately comfortably won the fourth, but not without a few good punches from a talented Hawks team.
An average net of +10 in the four wins, the series wasn’t all that competitive on a game to game basis, but did test the Celtics resilience, as in every game the Hawks did manage to claw their way back and make runs, while finding a way to steal two big games.
The Celtics who averaged 117.8 points per game in the regular season finished this series at 121 points per game, the Hawks who were 118 in the regular season were 116 in the six games.
The Celtics defensively weren’t their best as they allowed five points more than they did in the regular season, and 119+ in the final four games of the series.
The +10 net was four points better than the league leading +6 from the regular season.
One major struggle for the Celtics was rebounding, specifically keeping the Hawks off the offensive glass.
Touched on this before, here, the Hawks were one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the NBA, especially with Quin Snyder at the helm, but it was still a bit worrisome to see the Celtics allow so many extra possessions.
The Hawks averaged 12.2 offensive rebounds per game in the six game series, after averaging 14 through the regular season.
The Celtics must clean that up as their next challenge is the 76ers and Joel Embiid.
Trae and Maxey
Another issue was Trae Young, after holding Trae to a brutal two game start, he came alive the rest of the way and was the best player on the floor at times.
Trae scored 30+ in the final four games of the series, two in winning efforts.
His play style with his twitchy quickness is more closely resembled by Tyrese Maxey than it is James Harden, so I’m intrigued to see how they handle Maxey in this series.
Overall the Celtics didn’t play their best basketball in round one, but winning the series is all that matters. Each series asks for different approaches and different tactics, this next one should be interesting.
Next up, Game one at the Garden, 730pm on Monday vs the 76ers.
Trending This Week:
The Improbable Dream Part IV: Against All OddsJune 5, 2023The Improbable Dream Legendary WHDH commentator Ken Coleman described the 1967 Impossible Dream season by saying it was "really a...
FOCO Bobblehead Bash Sale! 60% OFFJune 6, 2023What an interesting start to 2023 it has been as we now are in the midst of June. For ourBoston...