The Boston Celtics go for a sixth straight win when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Boston has a number of players on the injury report, so it’s unsure what its lineup will look like in this one. Meanwhile, Atlanta is trying to figure out what its team will look like after a busy trade deadline.
When you talk about the Hawks now, it would be wise to ignore their overall record. Yes, they sit at 24 games under .500 and, despite having a great young superstar in Trae Young, don’t seem to be going anywhere this season.
But with the addition of Clint Capela and clearing of roster spots from unplayable vets, things are starting to come together. Capela will play great with John Collins up front, giving them two seriously dominant rebounding threats.
Boston, on the other hand, did what was best for it, ultimately deciding to stay put and not make any moves. The Celtics tried to make a play for Detroit’s Christian Wood, but the sides could not quite come to an agreement.
But they have two All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, another budding star in Jaylen Brown, plus one of the best defensive players in the league in Marcus Smart, who can legitimately guard players at all five positions. They’ll likely wait for the buyout market and see if they can land a desired big at that time.
The spread for Friday night’s game favors Boston by 9.5 points. The moneyline has the Celtics -550 and the Hawks +400.
Miami, Toronto and Boston are neck and neck for the second through fourth seeds in the Eastern Conference, so every loss for one of these teams is a win for the other. Atlanta has really stepped its game up as the role players around Young have been playing much better.
The Hawks also brought back an old friend in Dewayne Dedmon in the trade that sent Alex Len and Jabari Parker to Sacramento. That should shore up the backup center spot, and provides Dedmon a place he has already been with a coach who knew how best to use him. We’ll see how the other guys perform in their debuts.
Capela may not be ready to go for this one, but he’ll likely enjoy playing with the Hawks more than the Rockets, who are going for an extreme small-ball lineup now.
Rolling To The Break
Injuries or not, the Celtics are among the best teams in the league not named the Milwaukee Bucks. And they are getting fantastic production from all three of their wing players, with the decision to let Marcus Morris Sr. walk after last year a clear no-brainer now.
Gordon Hayward is getting things done, while Tatum found his way to the All-Star Game, with Brown not far behind. Walker is going to be starting in that game and has been a fantastic fit with this organization. Defensively, the Celtics are among the best.
Out of all the rookies Boston added in the offseason, you had to expect at least one to make significant contributions. And it’s been 6-6 Grant Williams, making the three-ball and defending as well as anyone on the team.
Boston Gets Another W
The Celtics can’t be stopped despite their injuries. Boston will roll over Atlanta on Friday night.
Free Play: BOS -9.5
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