After more than a week of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, some series are nearing their end. That is the case for the first-round matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics. With Atlanta set to travel to face Boston on Tuesday, it means it is time for some Hawks Game 5 bold predictions.
Atlanta went 41-41 in the regular season, finishing as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. This marked the second year in a row that the Hawks were in the NBA Play-In Tournament. They managed to upset the Miami Heat 116-105 on the road to officially clinch a spot in the postseason.
On the other side of the matchup, the Celtics went 57-25 in the regular season, finishing No. 2 in the East for the second straight season. It was a six-win improvement compared to the previous year with only the Milwaukee Bucks having a better record at 58-24.
In Game 1, the Celtics opened the series with a 112-99 victory at home. They then followed it with a 119-106 win in Game 2. In Game 3 in Atlanta, the Hawks managed to get their first win of the series with a 130-122 result. On Sunday, Boston opened a 3-1 series lead after a 129-121 victory.
Now back at the TD Garden, the C's will have the chance of closing out the series. With that being said, here are some bold predictions for the Atlanta Hawks for their Game 5 of the first round versus the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
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3. Atlanta has serious problems stopping both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
If the Hawks want to extend the series beyond Game 5, they need to come up with a plan to stop both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both players are coming off career years in the league and are leading the Celtics in the series.
In the regular season, Tatum averaged a career-high 30.1 points, 8.8 boards and 4.6 assists per game. He shot 46.6% from the field, 35% from beyond the arc and 85.4% from the free-throw line. He ended up earning his fourth consecutive All-Star selection and even received some MVP buzz late in the season.
Brown had a career-best 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists. His shooting splits were 49.1% from the field, 33.5% from 3-point land and 76.5% from the charity stripe. He received his second All-Star nod and could make an All-NBA team for the first time in his seven-year career.
So far in the playoffs, Tatum and Brown are scoring 28.5 and 23.3 points a contest, respectively. Both are shooting nearly 40% from long distance and have also recorded double-doubles with rebounds in the series.
Without Dejounte Murray on the defensive end, the bold prediction is that Atlanta will have serious problems containing the Boston duo. Expect Tatum and Brown to have big performances once again, giving the Celtics a good chance of ending the series.
2. Trae Young has a 25-10 performance
On Tuesday, the Hawks will be without one of their main players on the court. Dejounte Murray was suspended after “making inappropriate contact with and verbally abusing a game official” in Game 4.
In the first four games, Murray averaged 25.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists with 2.3 steals. He made 45.6% of his field goals, 39.4% of his 3-pointers and 100% of his free throws.
Without him, the team will need Trae Young to step up for Atlanta. The guard is having many ups and downs in the series so far, but he seems to be finding his rhythm after a slow start.
Young is putting up 26.8 points, 9.5 assists and 3.8 boards plus 1.8 steals. He is shooting 42% from the field, 31% from beyond the arc and 80% from the charity stripe.
Since Murray won't be there to contribute to the offensive side, Young will get even more shots for the Hawks as he should be with the ball for most of the game. The bold prediction is that he will have a 25-point, 10-assist performance to keep Atlanta alive in the contest.
1. Atlanta Hawks have their moments but are eliminated by the Boston Celtics
At the end of the day, it is difficult to ignore how Murray's absence could hurt Atlanta on Tuesday. Additionally, Tatum and Brown are coming off 30-point performances in Game 4, showing that they are still playing well even late in the season.
The Celtics are the heavy favorites to win this contest and end the series, according to FanDuel. Currently, the spread is -13, which is the largest among games with the odds already announced.
The bold prediction is that the Hawks will have their moments, especially with Young having scoring sequences and many assists plus some stops by other players on defense. However, they will not be a match for Boston. The Celtics will eventually win and close out the series 4-1, ending the Hawks' 2022-23 season.