Trae Young and Jayson Tatum stand next to each other on the court

Pregame Post-Ups: C's, Hawks Will Get Familiar Over Next Week

Wednesday, February 17 - Hawks at Celtics

Pregame – Celts Prepare To Face Young, Hawks Three Times in Next Five Games

Ready for a mini playoff series? It’s about to tip off in just a few minutes.

Boston and Atlanta will not only face each other twice in the next three days inside TD Garden, but they’ll also face off yet again next Wednesday in Atlanta. That will mark three meetings during each team’s next five games, and all in the span of a week.

Don’t let Atlanta’s 11-16 record fool you, either. These will be challenging matchups for Boston, as Brad Stevens outlined before tonight’s tip-off.

“They’ve got a lot of good players, and they’ve got some guys out, but the depth of this team when full would be awfully impressive, and the depth tonight is really impressive when you talk about bringing guys like (Danilo) Gallinari, (Tony) Snell, guys like that off the bench – I mean, these guys have been good for a long time,” said Stevens. “Obviously with (Trae) Young, it’s all built around Young. But (Kevin) Huerter’s a good player, (Cam) Reddish is a good player, (Clint) Capela is a great addition and (John) Collins is having a great year again.”

That’s seven players who Stevens singled out in about 15 seconds. Clearly, his antenna is up heading into this matchup, and Young, who was a first-time All-Star last season and is having another outstanding season this time around, is a big reason why.

Young can do some amazing things on the court. He’ll pull up from the logo at any given moment, and he can dish some nifty passes. He enters tonight’s game ranked 11th in the league in scoring (25.9 PPG), fourth in assists per game (9.3 APG), and second in the league in free throw attempts per game (10.3). His talents alter the complexion of every game in which he plays.

“I think Trae’s 3-point game and his deep range opens up a lot of stuff that’s even higher percentage, when you talk about getting fouled, getting people to bite on shot fakes, he’s great at jumping back into contact. And then if he gets downhill, he’s great with the lob or the floater,” said Stevens. “And so I think that that range opens all of that up and certainly that’s a huge area of emphasis anytime you’re playing the Hawks.”

And, as such, that’s going to be a huge area of emphasis for the Celtics for the next week. They’re about to face off with Young and his talented teammates three times in the next seven days, which is very similar to the layout of a playoff series. It all starts tonight at TD Garden.

- Marc D'Amico


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