Sunday , Apr , 20 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Atlanta Hawks-Boston Celtics Series Preview

Atlanta Hawks-Boston Celtics Series Preview

Well, if you listened to most of the experts covering the NBA, the question would not be whether or not the Celtics were going to win this series, rather how many games they were going to do it in. I’m not sure I’ve seen a single expert giving Atlanta even two games in this series. The general consensus is that Boston will win in 4 games, maybe 5 for those people who were bored with giving the best team in the league the sweep.

I’m here to tell you it isn’t going to be that simple. The Hawks are a very young team with a lot of energy and excitement heading into their first playoff series since before the year 2000. The young birds have some very talented players, especially in their backcourt, who have playoff experience and the ability to score. I don’t think you can ever discount a backcourt that features Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson, two of the better guards in the Conference. Even fading, Bibby has to be a better guard than either Rondo or Cassell, and Joe Johnson is a consistent All Star in either Conference, so you can give him an edge against Ray Allen most nights. The fact is, Atlanta has a very good pair of starting guards, two that may even be better than what the Celtics put on the floor any given night.

The problem obviously arises in one Kevin Garnett. The player many in New England are calling for to be the MVP this season is a very difficult matchup, and someone the Hawks will not be able to effectively deal with. If Garnett dominates as he can, this will be a 4-game series…If the Hawks can render KG slightly less effective, they will have a chance to win ball games and should be in every one. Of course, if KG dominates or the Hawks don’t play at their best, this will be a very short series, as everyone predicts. I just don’t think anyone gives Atlanta any credit. They started this season very well and have at times looked like a very strong team.

That being said, I don’t think I could even dream or wish up a scenario in which the Hawks actually won this series. I can’t see any way the Celtics would not win the title this year. They are the favorites for a reason, as they have an extremely strong team. The only chance the Hawks stand is if the backcourt and bench play out of their minds every night. Childress, Bibby and Johnson are easily the key to this series. If they play well, the underdogs have a very good chance.

Prediction: Celtics in 5