On Thursday night, the Atlanta Hawks host the Boston Celtics at State Farm Arena for a huge Eastern Conference showdown.
Boston’s home team had a great chance to close out the series, but the Hawks’ furious fourth-quarter performance kept the series alive for at least one more game. With a potential seventh game in the series on the horizon, there’s no doubt that viewers will be tuning in.
Latest news on Trae Young, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Boston Celtics 119-117 on Tuesday despite the absence of starting guard Dejounte Murray, the team’s second-leading scorer, who was suspended for one game for shoving a referee at the end of Game 4.
The victory cut Boston’s series lead to 3-2.
The Atlanta Hawks return home with newfound vigor and the return of a crucial player, knowing that a win in Game 6 against the Boston Celtics on Thursday will tie their first-round playoff series.
Now that Murray is back, Snyder should have more substitution alternatives. Murray is averaging 25.3 points and 5.8 assists in the playoffs.
The Celtics may start by stopping Atlanta shooter Trae Young, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining. With 7.3 seconds left, Young took the inbound ball, faked a drive, and moved back deep outside the 3-point line for a 30-footer over Brown.
Young responded with a cold shiver.
Young finished with 38 points, his third consecutive game with at least 32 points and 11th career postseason game with at least 30 points. He played the entire second half (24 minutes) and game (44 minutes).
A win for Atlanta would force a critical Game 7 in Boston on Saturday.
For the most part, the Celtics have dominated the series, but a disastrous final minute in Game 5 has put a lot of pressure on Thursday night’s game.
Atlanta winning would force a game seven, something Boston knows they must avoid at all costs. They’ve been strong on the road this season, going 26-17, and a win in Atlanta should give them some confidence in Game 6.
The Celtics can clearly sense momentum moving against them, which is a major concern. With so much experience on their side, this isn’t the squad’s first or last difficult scenario.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown had another outstanding game, scoring 35 points and averaging 35.6 points in the series. However, Jayson Tatum was restricted to 19 points despite entering the game averaging 28.5 points per game in the playoffs.
The Celtics have been lucky to stay relatively healthy recently, even if having the advantage didn’t matter much in Game 5.
Danilo Gallinari (knee) has been out since the beginning of the season, but his absence provides Boston a depth advantage on Thursday night.