The Hawks have been dreadful through two games against the Celtics, but can anything change at home?
The Atlanta Hawks have been anything but impressive in their first two games of the NBA playoffs. After a high quality win against the Heat in their play-in tournament game, they have fallen to the Celtics by double-digits in back-to-back contests.
The Hawks, in both games, had promising starts, even taking leads, but the constant pressure put on by the Celtics has been too much. The points come with ease for seemingly everyone in Boston. Jayson Tatum is always going to get his, but it’s been the secondary pieces behind him, like Derrick White, that have made these games uncompetitive. The entire roster is producing for the Celtics right now, leaving the Hawks looking outsized and matched.
A silver lining for the hawks
There is some positivity at the end of all this. The series is back in Atlanta, and home-court advantage cannot be understated enough in the NBA playoffs. Boston is one of the most challenging places to play in the NBA, and when the Celtics would go on a run, it’s almost impossible to stop the bleeding. That should switch in Atlanta, and the crowd will have to propel the Hawks if they want any chance of making this a competitive series.
But having a game at home is good for more than just fan support. When playing at home, teams statistically get more out of their “others,” as Shaq likes to say. The Hawks have some players on the bench — Bogdan Bogdanovic, Onyeka Okangwu, and Jalen Johnson. These guys — with the exception of Bogi — are very young. Being at home should allow them to be more comfortable; hopefully, leading to more baskets, which will be necessary for them to avoid a sweep.
Trae young needs to wake up
The talent is there for the Hawks, and now that they are back in Atlanta, I see Trae Young looking to make a statement on his home floor. He’s heard all the noise, deservedly, about how he hasn’t performed in the playoffs over the last two seasons. He knows he’s not playing up to the level he is capable. That must change in Game 3, and I believe it will on the same stage that Young made himself a superstar a couple of years ago.
Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
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