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Celtics Can't Score, Down 0-2 To Atlanta

This game was simple to figure out- the Celtics can't hit a shot to save their lives, and Atlanta is just playing their game because that is all you have to do when the other team simply can't hit a shot.

The headline is as simple as it gets, and that is the main problem facing these Celtics over the last two games. They. Can't. Shoot. It doesn't matter who it is anymore, everyone is missing, and the worse the offense gets, the more frustrated these young players are, and that has an effect on their mindset. It's a bad place to be, but that is what is staring the 2015-16 Boston Celtics right in the face as they come home down 0-2 to a Hawks team that looks polished, experienced, and ready to move on to the next round as quick as possible. 

In Game One, Boston was able to keep Kyle Korver completely under control, but like in most seven-game series, players that are kept at bay eventually break through, and that is what happened with Korver last night. He knocked down four straight threes to help the Hawks jump out to a stunning 24-3 lead. The Celtics have been stressing that they need to start faster, and the more they stress it, the more they can't do it. At this point, they are better off not addressing it and just coming out and playing hard; they also need to focus on low post offense and taking the ball to the hoop more because the outside shot won't return until they start hitting some easy shots. The Celtics scored four more points in the first without allowing another basket, but they were still down 24-7 after one.

After the abysmal first quarter, Boston actually played even with Atlanta for the remainder of the game. Atlanta wasn't beating Boston on the boards, the turnovers were basically even, but once again, there was a glaring problem- Boston's offense. After shooting 37-102 in Game One, the Celtics followed it up with an awful 28-88 in Game Two. There isn't a team in the world that is going to win a game shooting this terribly, and for the second year in a row, the playoffs expose a major problem with the Celtics roster.

ONE player had a good game last night- power forward Amir Johnson. It is clear that Johnson was dealing with an injury during the first three quarters of the season, but he has been getting progressively better and is peaking at the right time. Johnson finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, zero turnovers, and he did it all in just over 20 minutes. Johnson might see himself getting more playing time going forward because he's been the only effective big man during the last two games. 

Atlanta didn't have anyone that played overwhelmingly great (Horford and Korver had 17 points apiece), they just did the same thing they did in Game One- play their game and allow Boston to keep missing shots. The Hawks were 11-29 from three, which isn't great, but Boston was a terrible 5-28. The Hawks are hitting open shots when they need to, and they also move the ball very well, typically getting the Celtics defense out of position so they have an open shot. Still, Boston only allowed 89 points last night, but because of their offensive shortcomings, they still lost by 17. 

The series now returns to Boston, a place where the Celtics have played great all year. They better hope that their shooting touch is regained being at home, because if this trend continues, the Celtics will get swept for the second year in a row.

Follow me @chris_simoneau


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