The Boston Celtics advance following a 128-120 win over the Atlanta Hawks. A tough road win gives the Celtics home court because the Milwaukee Bucks lost in just five games to the Miami Heat. The second round in the Eastern Conference is fully set with two enticing matchups.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both stepped up and produced in the biggest game of the season. Boston goes on the road and wins their second game in Atlanta to advance and play Philadelphia on Monday night. Now that the series is over, the Celtics need to reflect on some of the weaknesses shown in round one.
The East Runs Through the Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics Have Room to Grow
Following a rollercoaster round-one series, the Celtics survive and advance. The defense was the major statistic in this series versus the Hawks. After allowing just 102.5 PPG in the first two games of the series, the Atlanta Hawks averaged 122.5 PPG the next four games. A 20-point jump in offense cost the Celtics the chance to dominate this series and advance in just 4 or 5 games.
In addition, Robert Williams III and Al Horford need to be more consistent. Williams did not produce in the Game 3 loss, only posting 4 points and 5 rebounds. Horford posted just 3 points in Boston’s Game 5 loss at home. Going up against most likely MVP Joel Embiid, the big play will determine the series.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown need to continue to take care of the basketball. Both struggled with turnovers a season ago in the Boston Celtics run to the NBA Finals. However, while they both sit inside the top 20 for most turnovers in the NBA Playoffs this year, it is cut in half from the totals of a year ago.
Boston Celtics Scouting Report on the 76ers
The Boston Celtics are 3-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers this season. When going up against a possible MVP, the main focus defensively will be Embiid. Joe Mazzula’s main tactic during the regular season was sending doubles toward Embiid. The philosophy was to make someone else beat them.
One of the problems that arise in the postseason is that James Harden will look to capitalize on the open shots. This series will come down to which stars step up and who has a supporting cast that can knock down clutch shots. The veteran leadership and playmaking on both teams creates an exciting matchup.
PJ Tucker always seems to find a way to face Boston in the NBA Playoffs. Tucker will likely stick to Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown every possession each night, whoever has got it going. Like every game in every series, Brown and Tatum will be heavily relied on to make shots down the stretch and will need to come through.
The East Runs Through TD Garden
Owning home court is something the Boston Celtics cannot take for granted. Last season the Eastern Conference Finals came down to Game 7 in Miami, and the Celtics had to go on the road to win the series. This time any Game 7 will be a home game for Boston. Wherever the game is, this team will be ready for whatever battle they face.
Overall, Boston got the job done in round one. However, the inability to close it out in 5 games allowed more time for Embiid to heal. Joel Embiid is suffering from an injury sustained in round one. Game 1 of the series is not until Monday giving Embiid more time to get healthy. TD Garden will be rocking on Monday night, ready for their Celtics to continue their NBA Playoffs run.