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Four Keys to Hawks Beating Celtics Tonight

The Atlanta Hawks must play well in four areas to defeat the Boston Celtics tonight.
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The Atlanta Hawks are nearing the end of a grueling stretch of their schedule. Tonight the gauntlet continues as they host the Boston Celtics in State Farm Arena. Boston is riding a seven-game winning streak and has the best record in the NBA. Below are the four keys to victory tonight for Atlanta.

Contain Celtics

Boston leads the NBA in points per game, offensive rating, and true shooting percentage. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the engine of the league's best offense, and Atlanta must find a way of containing the two dynamic wings.

The good news is Atlanta's defense is markedly better than last season. They currently have the tenth-best defensive rating in the league. While Atlanta's offense has sputtered to start the season, the defense has won games.

Ball Movement

Trae Young and Dejounte Murray both rank in the top ten for assists per game. Paradoxically, the team ranks 26th in assist percentage. Any observer of Hawks games can point out that the team's offense is at its best when the ball is moving, and more players are involved.

Atlanta can play at a fast pace, but their half-court offense is clunky, thanks to their lack of spacing and outside shooting. The best way to combat this problem is to get more players (namely John Collins) involved.

Dejounte Murray and Trae Young run down the court.

Dejounte Murray and Trae Young rank in the top ten in assists per game.

Find Offense

Young and Murray have struggled shooting the ball this season. Especially Young, who is shooting career-low percentages. There are multiple factors for Young's shooting slump; lack of spacing, resulting defensive schemes, and just missing open shots.

We have no doubt that Young will work his way out of this dreadful slump. But if Atlanta is going to take down Boston, they will need an above-average offensive performance from Young.


Atlanta defeated Milwaukee on Monday night thanks to a well-rounded effort by their starters. Every player scored in double digits while logging 30+ minutes. Unfortunately, those kinds of numbers are not replicable throughout an 82-game season.

Atlanta's bench has been hit-and-miss through the first 14 games of the season. Someone must step up while Bogdan Bogdanovic remains out with a knee injury recovery.