Atlanta Hawks (6-2) at Boston Celtics (8-1)
Friday, November 13
8:00 PM ET
Game #10, Home Game #6
TV: ESPN, CSNHD
Referees: Monty McCutchen, Derrick Collins, Olandis Poole
Since the Hawks took the Celtics to 7 games in that 2008 playoff series, they have felt as though they are due a big win against the Celtics but have yet to get it. They are a young and athletic team and so the Celtics need to take them seriously. The Hawks are off to a very good start this season and will be looking to get that big win they feel they are capable of getting.
There is a subplot in this game as well. Joe Johnson was drafted by the Celtics who gave up on him while Shelden Williams was taken by the Hawks with the 5th pick in the draft and they gave up on him. Shelden has been playing very well for the Celtics and I'm sure he will be up for this game although he says that it is just another game. He also said he wants the win, not revenge.
Kevin Garnett insists that the Celtics and Hawks are not a rivalry, but given the bad blood between these two teams going back to their first round series in 2008, I'd have to say that if it isn't a rivalry, it is fast approaching one. These two teams don't like each other and there will probably be a measure of chippiness in this game.
C Kendrick Perkins Perkins 9.5 PPG 6.0 RPG 2.4 BPG
Tony Allen (ankle) out
Big Baby Davis (thumb) out
PG Mike Bibby PPG 10.4 RPG 3.4 APG 4.4
SG Joe Johnson PPG 21.0 RPG 5.9 APG 4.3
SF Marvin Williams PPG 9.6 RPG 4.9 APG 0.4
PF Josh Smith PPG 16.0 RPG 7.3 APG 4.4
C Al Horford PPG 13.5 RPG 10.5 APG 1.9
Rajon Rondo vs Mike Bibby
It doesn't get any easier for Rondo as he goes up against another solid veteran PG in Mike Bibby. Bibby can be dangerous from the perimeter but Rondo is quicker and can get the first step on Bibby. Celtics fans still remember Mike Bibby's comment about bandwagon fans in the playoffs 2 years ago and would love to see Rondo take Bibby to school
Kevin Garnett vs Josh Smith
Smith is a very athletic and quick power forward and this will be a test of KG's mobility. Smith is a handful to guard but then, so is KG. Should be a good matchup.
Kendrick Perkins vs Al Horford
Horford has no love for the Celtics. It was and incident with Horford that earned Pierce a $25,000 fine for flashing a "gang sign" back at him. He has had scuffles with Perk more than a few times and recently he claimed that Paul Pierce owed him $10,000 for a bet they made while lined up for a free throw in that playoff series. Perk is more mobile this year and should be able to defend Horford very well. It will be interesting to see what Horford does in this game.
• Celtics won the season series 4-0 against Atlanta in 2008-09
• Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 23.5 points per game last season
• Joe Johnson averaged 21.3 points per game against Celtics last season
• Marked the first time in the 60 year history between the two franchises that the Celtics had swept back-to-back season series
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 214-126 with the Celtics 114-35 at home
Keys to the Game Defense - This is the key to every game and to winning a championship this year. Rebound - The Celtics were out rebounded by the Jazz. They need to work harder on the boards, especially on the offensive end. Move the ball The Celtics lead the league in assists per game. Moving the ball, making the extra pass and finding the open man is crucial for this team's success. Don't Overuse the 3 In the Jazz game, the team did a good job of balancing the 3 point shot with getting to the hoop. They need to keep up that balance.
Don't Underestimate the Hawks This team can be dangerous. They are a young, talented and athletic team. They also have a good bench. The Celtics have to come out strong and take them out of their game early because if they let them hang around, they may steal this one.