Saturday, March 16 at 12:30 PM ET
Coverage: NBA League Pass
The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded when they host the surging Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon.
Celtics Could be Shorthanded on Saturday
Backup point guard Terry Rozier and fellow reserves Daniel Theis and Guerschon Yabusele could all miss this game because they're battling an unspecified illness. The C's overcame a 17-point first-half deficit in Thursday's 126-120 win against the Kings, without Rozier, Theis and Yabusele but not having them again can put an added strain on their top players.
Being in the middle game of a stretch of three games in five days and with the Nuggets coming to town on Monday, the Celtics need to find all the rest they can for players like Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris.
Boston is on a roll, winning four of their last five games to move just two games behind the 76ers for third place in the Eastern Conference.
Stopping Kyrie Irving has been tough for the Hawks. Irving scored 32 points in the most recent meeting, a 113-105 Boston win in Atlanta on January 19 and he's averaging 25.6 points and 5.9 assists in 23 career games against the Hawks.
Irving finished with 31 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds against the Kings, becoming the first Celtics player to record 30+ points and a triple-double in the same game since Rajon Rondo on February 12, 2012 against the Bulls.
Jaylen Brown stepped up, sparking the Boston comeback with 22 points off the bench in 32 minutes, going 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Brown has made 6 of his last 9 3-point attempts.
Marcus Morris is another potential X-Factor against the Hawks, he finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes against the Kings and now he's reached the 20-point mark 10 times this season.
Hawks Should Not Be Underestimated
The Hawks are just 11-24 on the road and the Celtics have dominated them this season, winning the three meetings with them so far but this is a team on the rise, with two straight wins, including Wednesday's 132-111 home victory against the Grizzlies.
The Atlanta offense is firing on all cylinders, averaging 123.6 points in 11 games since the All-Star break to lead the NBA in that span and they've scored 120 points or more in seven of those contests.
The play of second-year forward John Collins and rookie point guard Trae Young has made a difference this season, helping the Hawks exceed expectations. Collins is averaging 19.9 points and 9.8 rebounds, with 28 double-doubles and Young is averaging 18.3 points and 7.8 assists while making 33.3 percent of this 3-point shots.
The Atlanta Hawks are:
5-0 ATS in their last five road games
5-1 ATS in their last six games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
5-1 ATS in their last six games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
5-1 ATS in their last six games overall
5-1 ATS in their last six games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
7-2 ATS in their last nine games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
6-2 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win
The Boston Celtics are:
2-6 ATS in their last eight games playing on one day of rest
1-4-1 ATS in their last six games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game
Rookie guard Kevin Huerter can be a difference-maker today, he's given Atlanta a 3-point scoring threat they haven't had since Kyle Korver, shooting 39.4 percent from distance while averaging 9.6 points per game. The Celtics are the better team but this will be a dog fight, the Hawks are playing with purpose and Collins, Young and Huerter can help them stay in this game.
NBA Pick: Hawks +10.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzsportsON