The Atlanta Hawks are operating at an extremely high level right now, and that has been evident in their results. Mike Budenholzer and company have snatched wins in four of their last five contests, and the group will be putting a two-game winning streak on the line as the Boston Celtics arrive on Tuesday night.
Atlanta will be taking the floor in its fourth consecutive home game, after a scheduling oddity ensured a three-game homestand over four days during the Thanksgiving holiday, and the Celtics are a welcomed sight. Boston sits at just 4-10 on the season after a blowout home loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, and the Celtics have lost four straight games in their own right.
The Celtics entered the season with relatively low expectations, but they do have some quality personnel in some areas. Rookie Marcus Smart did not make the trip for Boston, and he will miss his tenth straight game, but the Celtics do have some dangerous talent in Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger, and this is a team fully capable of upending the Hawks if Atlanta submits a less than stellar effort.
On the Hawks side of things, Jeff Teague has been playing out of his mind in recent days, and he'll be challenged by the smothering defense of Bradley. The 26-year-old point guard exceeded 20 points in four straight games before the lopsided win over Charlotte on Saturday night, and despite only playing 21 minutes in that contest, Teague managed to put up 10 assists. If there is a match-up to watch, Teague-Bradley qualifies.
Overall, Boston has been one of the worst teams in the NBA from a defensive standpoint, allowing 107.4 points per 100 possessions. That sets up perfectly for a Hawks team that has looked crisp offensively in the recent past, and it will be interesting to see how the team attacks Boston, especially given that they have a statistically-driven coach in Brad Stevens. Still, this is a spot where even a "solid" effort should mean victory for Atlanta, and anything less would be troubling.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, December 2, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM