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Atlanta Hawks Vs. Boston Celtics

ROUND ONE - Eastern Conference
Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics Series Preview

The Boston Celtics (66- 16) have gone from being one of the worst teams in the NBA to possessing the best regular season record in the league. Boston averages a healthy 100.5 PPG, while sporting one of the toughest defenses in the NBA, holding opponents to an average of 90.2 PPG.

The Big Three for the Celts are Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Small forward Pierce leads the club in points, putting in 19.8 per game. Power forward Garnett has been good for 19.0 PPG, while shooting guard Allen has hit for 17.6 PPG. The three also know how to distribute the ball. The assist leader on the team, point guard Rajon Rondo with 5.1 APG, has played beyond his mere two years in the NBA. Center Kendrick Perkins (7.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.47 BPG), in his sixth year, has been a solid defensive performer. Garnett leads the club in rebounding with 9.3 per game.

From downtown, Pierce is accurate 39% of the time, while Allen puts in 91% of his frees. This is a sound shooting team, hitting 46% from the field, 38% from the three-point arc and 77% from the charity stripe.

The eighth seed Atlanta Hawks (37- 45) have averaged 98.1 PPG and allowed 99.6 PPG. The Hawks go into the post-season with a losing record, having won just 46% of their games.

The team’s top performer is Joe Johnson. Now in his eighth NBA season, shooting guard Johnson has averaged 22.1 PPG and dished off 5.8 APG. He’s just one of six Hawks that averaged 10 or more points per game this season. Point guard Mike Bibby, who put in 13.9 PPG, led the team in assists with 6.1 per game. Upfront, power forward Josh Smith has blocked 2.85 SPG and notched 1.52 SPG. His 17.3 PPG are second only to Johnson.

Rookie center Al Horford has had an impact, taking down a team high 9.6 RPG. Horford, a work-a-day player, also averaged 10.2 PPG. Johnson is a threat from downtown, putting in 39% of his attempts. Small forward Josh Childress is accurate 36% of the time. The team hits 36% of its threes, but it’s a tradeoff as opponents put in the same percentage. Atlanta connects on 45% from the floor, but opponents do a bit better than that.

Someone had to draw the Celtics and the Hawks were the team to do so. Look for this to be four and out. Boston met Atlanta three times this season and handled them easily each time.

Maddux Sports Series Prediction:

Boston Celtics in 5 Games

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