Preview: (ATL 15-36) @ BOS (37-15) 2/2/18 7:30 PM TD Garden Boston, MA
Tyler Dorsey dribbles the ball (Chris Schwegler/NBAE/Getty Images).
Hawks head north to Boston following a disappointing showing vs the Hornets.
FRIDAY PM UPDATE: Kyrie, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Shane Larkin OUT Tonight. Dennis Schroder Game Time Decision.
After a 7-7 stretch where the Hawks looked “decent”, it appears that the tank is back on. Despite a good win Monday over the Minnesota Timberwolves, two of the last 3 games have been disappointing blowouts to the Wall-less Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets.
Wednesday’s 123-110 loss sent the Hawks to 15-36. Other than a stretch early in the 3rd quarter where the lead was cut to 2, the Hornets controlled this game wire to wire. Despite being the return of Dwight Howard there was little energy in the crowd and he didn’t even get booed (or cheered) in introductions.
The Hawks showed little defensive effort on Kemba Walker as he lit us up for 38 Points and 9 Three’s. Dwight Howard was able to dominate the paint with 20 Points and 12 Rebounds, as well as a ferocious jam to pretty much seal the blowout.
It was a very weird looking box score for the Hawks. Kent Bazemore continued his strong play as of late and led the way with 25 Points and 5 Assists. Marco Belenelli had 22 off the bench. But outside of Bazemore, the starters shot 12-28 and combined for only 28 Points. Taurean Prince did not score and Miles Plumlee only played 6 minutes outside of garbage time.
One positive that came from this game is that we may have finally seen the end of Plumlee starting. After starting the 1st quarter, Plumlee did not play again until the game was well out of hand in the final 3 minutes. Mike Muscala started the 2nd quarter in his place.
Taurean Prince continued to struggle, as he has over much of the past month. But now it has completely shot his confidence and is spreading to other parts of his game such as his defensive effort. It may be smart for Coach Bud to sit him down a game or two and allow him to rest.
The same can be said for Dennis Schroder who’s 3 Point shot has really fallen off a cliff as of late. Not to mention his defense which has been pours all year. In addition, he now is dealing with a shoulder injury after bumping into Dewayne Dedmon and Dwight Howard during Wednesday’s game. He is listed as Day-To-Day for Friday’s contest.
When Gordon Hayward went down on opening night, many wondered what was to come for the Celtics. Nobody expected them to be 37-15 with 30 games to go in the season. They are similar in some aspects to the 2014-15 Hawks but with a star leading them.
Even without Kyrie, the Celtics destroyed the New York Knicks 103-73 Wednesday Night behind Terry Rozier’s Triple Double. Kyrie is listed Day-To-Day for Friday’s matchup.
So far this year, these teams played two highly entertaining matchups with the Celtics winning both 110-107 and 110-99 in Atlanta. Despite being close in the 4th quarter of both, Kyrie’s star power was too much for the Hawks to handle down the stretch. The Hawks however are a much better home team than road team so it will be a very tall task, even if Ky is unable to give it a go.
Kyrie vs Dennis
If Dennis is able to give it a go he has quite the defensive assignment ahead of him. In the first two matchups, he was able to hold his own against Kyrie but Dennis is now in the midst of a horrible shooting slump and is nursing a sore shoulder.
DeAndre’ Bembry: Out
Dennis Schroder: Day To Day
Gordon Hayward: Out
Kyrie Irving: Day To Day
Three Keys to the Game
1. Contain the “others”
Kyrie is going to be Kyrie. We have nobody to stop him or really even slow him down. Therefore, we must hold the Celtics “others” in check.
2. Play with Confidence
Wednesday vs Charlotte, several players seemed to be moping a bit at times. Dennis Schroder in particular walked to the bench with his head down and did not say anything or even acknowledge anyone when he was subbed out in the 3rd quarter. This is not what you want to see from your statistical leader during a rough season.
3. Hit Open Shots
The main reason the Hawks have been able to hang in most games is because of the ability to hit shots at a consistent rate. Vs a stingy defense like Boston, it will be imperative to hit the open ones.
Guard – Dennis Schroder
Guard – Kent Bazemore
Forward – Taurean Prince
Forward – Ersan Ilyasova
Center – Mike Muscala
Guard- Kyrie Irving
Guard- Jaylen Brown
Forward- Jayson Tatum
Forward- Al Horford
Center- Aron Baynes
Tip Off: 7:30 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Prediction: Celtics 112 Hawks 86
Next Three Games
Sunday 2/4 @ NYK 12:00 PM
Tuesday 2/6 Vs MEM 7:30 PM
Thursday 2/8 @ ORL 7:00 PM
Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil
If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a writer for ATLSportsHQ please DM Phil on Twitter or send a sample article to email@example.com.