Celtics vs Hawks Predictions: The Celtics Are Back for Revenge in the Playoffs

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published April 15, 2023
5 min read
  • The Celtics lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last year
  • The Hawks beat the Miami Heat in the 7/8 play-in game 
  • The Celtics have won five straight matchups against the Hawks

Game One of the Eastern Conference playoffs matchup between the two-seed Boston Celtics and seven-seed Atlanta Hawks tips off in Boston Saturday afternoon. 

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Celtics vs Hawks Odds

TeamSpreadMoneylineTotal

Celtics

-9 (-110)
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-420
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Over 231.5 (-110)
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Hawks

+9 (-110)
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+320
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Under 231.5 (-110)
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Celtics vs Hawks Predictions

Celtics vs Hawks Preview

The Celtics are back for revenge in the playoffs after they made it all the way to the NBA Finals before falling to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The team appears to have more maturity about it, has more quality coming off the bench, and did not have the same slow start to the season that it did previously.

What makes Boston so scary is that its one-two punch in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown has never worked as well as it has this season. In every series they play in the Eastern Conference playoffs, regardless of who it is against, they will have the best pairing of co-stars.  

Atlanta does not have the same luxury but has a nice backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. They also made an in-season move to install Quin Snyder as head coach after he had several successful seasons with the Utah Jazz.

The Hawks are still getting used to Snyder’s up-tempo style, but it certainly fits the pieces they have on the roster. They were at their best against the Heat in the 7/8 play-in game and showed just how dangerous of a team they can be, even when on the road.

Atlanta sneakily has the right pieces to match up with the Celtics on defense, although their inconsistency as a team and wandering offensive execution leave them as a heavy underdog. 

Boston is in championship-or-bust mode but must deal with having a rookie coach in command. Only five first-year head coaches have ever made the NBA Finals, and their best players include all-time greats like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Steph Curry, all above the caliber of Tatum—at least, at this stage in his career.

Celtics Team Preview

The Celtics are led by Tatum (30.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) and Brown (26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds). They also have an unselfish and defensive-minded backcourt with Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon, plus an interior presence with Al Horford and the returning Robert Williams III.

Horford and Brogdon also ranked second and fourth in three-point percentage at 44.6% and 44.4%, respectively. The three-point shot is an integral component in Boston’s high-powered offense, and those two have been important pieces to help keep the team running at an elite level.

From a team perspective, Boston ranked first in net rating and second in both offensive and defensive rating in the regular season. They have the joint-best home record in the East and will have the benefit of playing there in Game Seven, should the series stretch that long. Tatum and Brown also have the capability to engineer a win practically on their own whenever they are hot. 

Hawks Team Preview

The Hawks are captained by Young, who averaged 26.2 points and 10 assists this season. Rumors leaked the day of the play-in tournament that the Hawks’ front office green-lighted a trade search for him this offseason, but he did not let that cloud his performance and dominated the Heat to secure a spot in the playoff bracket.

Atlanta can run red-hot or ice-cold depending on the moment in time. It has seven players averaging double-digit scoring (plus Onyeka Okongwu at 9.9 points per game) and took nearly 33% more three per game in its last two outings, part of the Snyder influence, than it averaged across the entire regular season.

At the end of the day, the Hawks only went 41-41, and they don’t impress in most metrics. However, they have the talent to cause upsets, and Young has proven to be an impressive villain in the playoffs. After all, he’s only a couple of years removed from leading his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Celtics vs Hawks Pick

The Hawks will be an intriguing prospect in spots, but not this spot. The Celtics’ starters are well-rested, whereas the Hawks played a tough play-in game on the road and are now traveling again.

The Celtics have also won five straight matchups with the Hawks by an average of 11.8 points. Granted, they would only be 1-2-2 against the spread on a nine-point line, but they appear to be too talented and too well-drilled for a team that is still learning to play under its new coach and that did not build much self-belief in the regular season.  

Expect the Celtics to make an early statement in this series with a double-digit win. 

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How to watch Celtics vs Hawks

  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
  • When: 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 15
  • TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling, etc. 
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Grant Mitchell

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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field. In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor in Sports Media and Analytics
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