Celtics-Hawks Preview: Tatum Entering Dejounte's Prison

We’re taking in some NBA action tonight in a great matchup between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics have transitioned smoothly to head coach Joe Mazzulla as they’ve won seven straight games en route to the league’s best record.

Atlanta’s new backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray has been a sight to see, and the notion of two ball-dominant players struggling together has been quickly disproven as the Hawks currently sit third in the East, two games back of Boston.

Celtics @ Hawks Game Information

  • Location: State Farm Arena | Atlanta, GA
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN

Boston was one of the best defensive teams of all time last season, but with an injury to Robert Williams, among other factors, they are now in the middle of the pack. Their offense has been carrying them as they score the most points per game in the league behind Jayson Tatum’s surging season.

The forward averages nearly 32 points per game, the third-best in the league. The Celtics have been living and dying by the deep ball this year, with the second-highest attempted threes per game at 40.8, trailing only Golden State.

Atlanta counters what Boston does well, as the Hawks have allowed the second-worst three-point percentage this season. Adding one of the best defenders in Murray alongside an already strong wing defender in De’Andre Hunter propels this perimeter defense to one of the best in basketball.

Celtics @ Hawks Game Odds on FanDuel

  • Spread: Celtics -3 (-108) | Hawks +3 (-112)
  • Moneyline: Celtics (-146) | Hawks (+124)
  • Total: Over 232.5 (-110) | Under 232.5 (-110)

The public is siding with Boston (61% of the wagers), understandably, given their success. Streaks can’t last forever, and the Hawks match up well with Boston’s offense. We’re not going to officially tout a side, although we lean in favor of Atlanta. Instead, we’ll back the UNDER, given that Boston won’t have the chance to chuck up as many threes as they’d like.

Celtics @ Hawks Picks on FanDuel

  • UNDER 232.5 Points (-110) | Tatum UNDER 30.5 Points (-113)
  • Capela 13+ Rebounds/Atlanta to Win (+340)
  • Capela OVER 11.5 Rebounds (+100) | Young UNDER 2.5 Threes (+110)

Tatum has faced Murray eight times in his career and has averaged 23.5 points against him. In that, there was a 60-point outlier that would bring his average down to 18.3 if we were to remove that. Tatum still is one of the league’s best scorers, but expect him to be more pass-happy tonight. 

Atlanta’s Clint Capela has gone over 11.5 rebounds in five of his last six games and will have an optimal matchup against a team that ranks eighth worst in rebounds per game. We’ll add some value to his player performance, as he’s gone over 13 rebounds in four of his last six

Young has made only two threes (or less) in a game in seven straight while only doing it thrice in 13 contests this season. We’ve talked about Atlanta’s strong perimeter defense, but Boston certainly isn’t too far behind in that category. We’ll tout this UNDER at plus-odds.

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