Monday, March 1

The Celtics seek victory with a short break against the Hawks

The Boston Celtics hope to continue turning their season in the right direction on Wednesday when they host the Atlanta Hawks in the first knockdown of a two-game series.

The Celtics ended a two-game losing streak on Tuesday when they defeated the Denver Nuggets 112-99. Boston had lost four of its five previous games and saw its record drop to .500. The Hawks have lost four in a row for the first time after Monday’s 123-112 loss to the New York Knicks and have lost seven of their last eight.

Rivals in the Eastern Conference have not played this season. They will play for the second time on Friday in Boston and again on February 24 in Atlanta.

Boston general manager Danny Ainge said the team’s problem isn’t coach Brad Stevens.

“I don’t think this has anything to do with training,” Ainge said. “We are not playing with the passion that we need. I think that is in the players. And the players of the team are in me.”

The Celtics are led by Jaylen Brown, who had 27 on Tuesday and averaging 26.0 points per game, his career high, and Jayson Tatum, who scored 21 and averaged 25.4 per game, respectively.

The Celtics have dominated the recent series against Atlanta. Boston won all three meetings last season and has won seven in a row against the Hawks. Atlanta hasn’t beaten Boston since April 8, 2018.

This will be the sixth back-to-back of the season for the Celtics. They won both games three times and split the other two, losing the second game in both cases.

The Hawks continue to fight without De’Andre Hunter, out since late January following a procedure on his right knee. Hunter is the team’s second scorer, but also one of its best defenders. Without Hunter, the Hawks are allowing nearly 120 points per game this season.

On Tuesday, they were burned for 44 points by Julius Randle of New York.

“We’re constantly trying to find those big moments on our side and we got hit by a guy who made play after play all night,” said Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce.

“When we say the moments we need have come our way, they made big important shots down the stretch and we really didn’t do it when we were going back and forth. Every time you think about it, it’s just how to do it. You score, how you do some of those plays, how do you convert. “

John Collins said: “We have to come out with more effort, energy. We need heart. We need to believe that we can win. We have to believe that we can and will do the things necessary to win. I think it starts there.”

Collins has been playing at a high level. He has raised his scoring average to 18.1 points and is averaging 7.6 rebounds.

Skylar Mays, a rookie on a two-way contract, has been a pleasant surprise. He scored 20 from the bench against San Antonio last Friday and is averaging 10.3 points on 55 percent shooting in the last three games, during which he totaled 40 minutes, more than he had played in his previous six appearances combined throughout. the season.

–Field level media

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