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Celtics vs. Hawks Game 1 preview: Atlanta and Boston kick things off in prime time

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Game 1 is here.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1 is a unique animal.

All of the prognostication has taken place with regard to the upcoming series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics and, for the most part, it has taken a global lean. Now, we must zero in on what will transpire from game to game, and the series opener will take place on Saturday evening in Atlanta.

Before tip-off, we have touched on the season series, taken a look at the match-up from a handicapping perspectiveand even broken down the position-by-position battles. Now, tip-off will occur and all of that effort will be focused on what actually takes place on the court in Game 1.

That will, of course, lead to overreaction on either side, but the match-up concerns remain. Boston is a solid rebounding team while Atlanta is a ghastly rebounding team, especially when it comes to protecting the defensive boards. The Celtics have a dangerous perimeter scorer in Isaiah Thomas, while the Hawks hold a significant advantage in the frontcourt based on the way that Paul Millsap operated during the entire body of the regular season.

Role players will emerge (keep an eye on Hawks killer and general enigma Evan Turner), "stars" will either shine or flop on a grand stage and, at least for me, the point guard battle will allow Atlanta to prosper or force the Hawks to scuffle. Everything begins on Saturday night in prime time, and we will be here throughout. Let's do this thing together.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Saturday, April 16, 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: ESPN, Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM