WHO: Celtics (15-16) vs. Hawks (13-18)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: State Farm Arena
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
G: Payton Pritchard
G: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Daniel Theis
C: Tristan Thompson
G: Trae Young
G: Kevin Huerter
F: Tony Snell
PF: John Collins
C: Clint Capela
The Boston Celtics (15-16, 15-16 ATS) fell below .500 for the first time since the team started 1-2 on Dec. 27 with a loss to the Mavericks yesterday. The Hawks (13-18, 15-16 ATS) plunged even further below after they and the Celtics split a pair of games last week with a loss to Lamar Stevens and the Cavaliers at the buzzer. They meet tonight in Atlanta at 7:30 EST.
Kemba Walker (knee), Marcus Smart (calf) and Romeo Langford (wrist) remain out for Boston.
John Collins (concussion protocol) is questionable while Cam Reddish (achilles) is doubtful. Kris Dunn (ankle), De’Andre Hunter (knee) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) remain out for Atlanta. Rajon Rondo (back) returned yesterday after missing seven games and is active tonight.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Celtics are 2.0 point favorites.
- Celtics vs. Hawks spread: Celtics -2
- Celtics vs. Hawks over-under: 224 points
- Celtics vs. Hawks money line: Celtics -163, Hawks +143
The Hawks lost a devastating finish yesterday, with Trae Young aggressively shooting ahead by one point then getting beat in transition by Lamar Stevens for a game-winning Cavaliers layup. Atlanta beat the Nuggets over the weekend after splitting two games in Boston with the Celtics last week.
Tony Snell has joined the starting lineup since Danillo Gallinari is struggling immensely and Soloman Hill’s offensive impact is limited. One of them will have to start as well if Collins sits, pulling names like rookie Onyeka Okongwu or Bruno Fernando up the rotation.
The Cavaliers shot 52% from the field and 53% from three yesterday in the win, though the Celtics struggled immensely on week ago on offense when Kemba Walker sat. The losses for both teams, given Boston’s depth, essentially cancel out.
If Collins can play, Boston should be considered an underdog given their recent play particularly late in games. The Celtics are allowing 116 points per 100 possessions in the third (23rd) and 113.6 in the fourth (24th) this season on defense. The offense continues to settle for pull-up jumpers.
The big question today is Payton Pritchard’s ability to mesh with the offense. He’s shooting 40.3% from the field since his return from knee injury and struggled in a spot start against Detroit (1-of-5, 2 points) and a week ago when Walker sat (5-of-11, 11 points, 5 fouls).
Boston 110, Atlanta 107 (14-12, 10-14 ATS)