Archives For Jae Crowder

In what was a defensive — and at times ugly — affair the Atlanta Hawks triumphed (89-72) over the Boston Celtics to take Game 2 and, with it, a 2-0 series lead in the first round. Kyle Korver and Al Horford both notched 17 points for the Hawks, while Isaiah Thomas led the way with 16 points for the Celtics.

First quarter blitz

In the last few games before the playoffs began, and Game 1 of this series, the Boston Celtics have been known to start the game off very slowly and this has left themselves facing an uphill battle from the very early stages of the game. That trend continued in Game 2, as the Hawks bolted out of the gates to take a 24-3 lead in the first seven minutes, eventually ending the first quarter with a 24-7 advantage (despite not scoring in the final 5:28).

The two teams would score the exact same number of points in the final three periods (65) so, in the end, the difference in this game was the first quarter. There were a few reasons why the Hawks blitzed the Celtics in the first quarter, let’s start with the Hawks defense, which fuelled everything else and set the tone for the rest of the game.

This was one of the first defensive possessions of the game. The Celtics try to run their offense, and it ends up with Jae Crowder attempting to get the ball over to Marcus Smart. Kent Bazemore reads the play, picks off the pass, and gets out in the open floor. He turns down the option to set up Kyle Korver and gets the friendly toilet rim roll on his three-point attempt.

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The Atlanta Hawks will begin their playoff quest on Saturday night, at Philips Arena, against the Boston Celtics. The two teams share quite a few similarities: both share a 48-33 record, both teams have players who are under appreciated throughout the league in Paul Millsap and Jae Crowder (who, in my personal opinion, should’ve been Boston’s All-Star representative), and both teams have excellent coaches in Brad Stevens and Mike Budenholzer who play similar styles of basketball.

The Hawks won the season series 3-1, their only loss coming on November 13th — the one game Mike Budenholzer was not with the team, due to personal reasons. Let’s have a look at the season series stats between the two teams.

hawks-c's stats

A couple of interesting things here.

The Hawks have had no problem scoring against the Celtics. An average of 110.3 points against the Celtics in four games is a concern for the Celtics in their preparation. The Hawks shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three is also a problem, the Celtics will have to make things more difficult for the Hawks if they want to stick around in these games.

I didn’t add the offensive rebounding numbers for the Celtics (10.8 per game against the Hawks, by the way), but it’ll be interesting to see how Atlanta deals with Johnson, Sullinger, and Crowder on the glass. The Hawks only average 1.5 less second chance points than the Celtics in the season series, so I didn’t see that aspect of the series being that important.

So, there are the season series stats for your viewing pleasure. But what about everything else? What are the keys to this series?

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