Date: December 31, 2013
Tip-Off Time: 1:00 PM ET
TV Channel: SportSouth (Local in Atlanta), NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Atlanta Hawks Radio Network Affiliates
Live Stream: League Pass Broadband
It’s almost 2014! The Hawks will be “ringing in the New Year” in style, as they take the court for a rare weekday matinee affair against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Hawks are coming off of an unfortunate “schedule” loss to the Magic on Sunday evening, but with a much-needed day off on Monday, perhaps the team will have its sea legs back here.
Boston is just 13-17 on the year, but they are playing surprisingly well under new coach Brad Stevens, especially given the fact that their best player, Rajon Rondo, is on the shelf. The Celtics have been a much better defensive team (10th in the NBA) than an offensive team (23rd in the NBA) this season, but that may actually play into the Horford-less Hawks, especially given how the defense looked on Sunday.
The Celtics don’t feature a single, “standout” player, so it will be a more across-the-board evaluation here. Atlanta is charged with moving on without Horford, and with DeMarre Carroll also scheduled to miss this game due to injury, it’s a very short-handed bunch. Look for Lou Williams to play some serious minutes in this game, and the new “big three” of shot creation (Williams, Teague, Millsap) will have their hands full against a stout defense.
Kyle Korver’s streak of madness reached 100 (!!) consecutive games with a 3-pointer on Sunday, and he’ll be looking to extend his NBA record here. However, Boston is actually exceptional in defending the 3-point line (thank you again, Brad Stevens) at 5th in the entire league (33.8%), and it wouldn’t be a shock to see them gang-defend Korver to take away a huge weapon for Mike Budenholzer and company.
Our pals in Las Vegas have made the Celtics a 2.5-point home favorite in this game, and to be frank, that smells like a slap in the face of the Hawks. Obviously, they realize that Atlanta is down 2 starters, but something tells me that the Boston crowd won’t be at fever pitch for a 1:00 pm tip-off, and they’ll be several opportunities for the Hawks to make some noise.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night, and a full recap to follow.