The Atlanta Hawks trailed, threatened, and then fell short in an ugly Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, 112-99. Here we will look at the three players to blame for the Hawks’ ugly Game 1 loss to the Celtics in the 2023 Playoffs.
The Celtics, who were seeded No. 2, dominated their game against the Hawks and had a lead of up to 32 points. Atlanta struggled with its shooting. In fact, the Hawks missed their first 10 three-point attempts and only made five out of 29 throughout the game. However, Atlanta managed to go on a 32-12 run and reduce the deficit to 96-84 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics responded by extending their lead to 107-87, but Atlanta made a late push. With less than two minutes remaining, De’Andre Hunter had a chance to score on a fast break, but Marcus Smart blocked his layup attempt. Despite this, the Celtics were on fire throughout the game and made a total of 13 3-pointers.
On the other side, the Hawks need to fix some things to compete in Game 2. For sure, they’ll need a few players to step up and bounce back as well.
Now, let’s look at the players to blame for the Hawks’ ugly Game 1 loss to the Celtics.
1. Trae Young
For the Hawks to have any chance of upsetting the Celtics in the first round of the 2023 NBA playoffs, their star player Trae Young will need to step up and perform better. In Game 1, Young only managed to score 16 points and struggled with his shooting. He made just one three-pointer on five attempts and shot 5-for-18 from the floor. Shutting him down was crucial in Boston’s 112-99 victory.
Keep in mind that Young has been in a playoff slump since last year’s first-round series against the Miami Heat. Remember that he has made only eight out of 49 attempts from beyond the arc in his last seven postseason games. Needless to say, Young has never shot this badly in the playoffs. In fact, this is one of the worst shooting performances in playoff history, according to ESPN Stats & Info. However, it wasn’t just Young who struggled in Game 1. The Hawks, as a team, shot poorly. Again, they made only five out of 29 attempts from deep and shot 38.8 percent overall from the floor. In the postseason right now, that kind of shooting just won’t cut it.
Trae Young has struggled shooting in his last 7 playoff games for the Hawks
14 PTS — 4-of-17 FG — 0-of-6 3PT
8 PTS — 1-of-12 FG — 0-of-7 3PT
25 PTS — 10-of-20 FG — 2-of-10 3PT
24 PTS — 6-of-14 FG — 2-of-6 3PT
9 PTS — 3-of-11 FG — 3-of-10 3PT
11 PTS — 2-of-12 FG — 0-of-5 3PT… pic.twitter.com/rpsoIRiExB
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 17, 2023
2. John Collins
Big man John Collins also needs to play much better. He had just 12 points in Game 1. Yes, he shot 5-of-7 from the field and had 2 blocks, but against the second-seeded Celtics, Collins needs to up his numbers. Sure, that’ll be easier said than done. So far this season, Collins has struggled against the Celtics. In two regular season games, he averaged just 11.5 points and shot 44.0 percent from the field against Boston.
In the playoffs now, Collins won’t help the Hawks much if his numbers remain at that level. We’re talking about a guy who averaged 20-10 just a few seasons ago. Collins is certainly capable of flipping the switch and bringing those numbers up. Hawks fans would love to see that happen in Game 2.
3. De’Andre Hunter
Another guy who struggled was De’Andre Hunter. He shot just 4-of-10 from the floor in Game 1, finishing with 11 points. For a guy who put up 15.4 points per game in the season, that kind of production just won’t cut it. Hunter is coming off arguably his best regular season yet, but that might be all for naught if he cannot raise his play in the postseason.
The Hawks need his offensive punch and versatility to at least try and counter what the Celtics have on their end of the floor. If Hunter can score more efficiently and hit those triples, that would level the playing field against the Celtics in a big way.