The NBA Playoffs open on Saturday, and the Boston Celtics visit the Atlanta Hawks in Game One, a game that will stream live in what promises to be the most tightly contested, evenly matched series of the first round. The Hawks grabbed the Eastern Conference fourth-round seed despite finishing with a 48-34 record, identical to the fifth-seeded Celtics.
Atlanta defeated Boston in three of four games in the 2015-2016 season, and the tie-breaker meant that despite the tied records, the Celtics must start the first-round best-of-seven series on the the road, hoping to grab at least one of two games in Atlanta before bringing the series back to TD Garden in Boston.
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The Hawks feature 6-foot, 10-inch, 29-year-old center Al Horford, who remains a rumored target for acquisition by the Celtics, as well as 6-foot, 8-inch forward Paul Milsap, who was the only player in the National Basketball Association to place in the league’s top 10 in both steals and blocked shots.
The Horford-Milsap tandem will pose a massive defensive obstacle for Coach Brad Stevens and his Celtics, whose leading scorer remains Isaiah Thomas, the shortest player in the NBA at 5-foot-9, the only Celtics player, at 22.2 points per game, to average more than 20.
But Stevens was adept and spreading the offense throughout his young team, as the Celtics finished the season averaging 105.7 points per game — best in the Eastern Conference and fifth-best in the NBA.
When the two teams met last, not even two weeks ago on April 9, the Celtics — also playing on the road in Atlanta — led at the half 71-67, only to slow down the stretch scoring just 36 points in the entire second half and a mere 16 in the fourth quarter on their way to a 118-107 defeat.
Watch highlights of the April 9 Celtics-Hawks game in the video below.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the NBA Playoffs first round Game One, Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks, see the streaming information in the final paragraph of this article. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern Time at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, April 16 — 4 p.m. Pacific Time.
The Celtics will be relying on Thomas to take over the game if they hope to grab a Game One victory over the Hawks. But, they will also need to play an air-tight defense. The Celtics tied for the NBA lead in forcing opponent turnovers with 15.8 per game this season. Scoring points off big defensive plays will be essential if the Celtics hope to return to Boston with a chance to win the series on their home court.
The Hawks also play a clampdown defense, ranking third in the NBA with 9.1 steals per game and leading the league in defensive efficiency since the All Star break.
Both teams have similar strengths, and the victory will likely go to the team that does a better job protecting the ball on offense.
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To watch the Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks NBA first-round playoff Game One stream live online, use the stream provided by WatchESPN at this link, or download the WatchESPN app to watch the game on mobile devices, as well as on set-top devices such as Roku and Apple TV. Fans who do not have credentials to log in to WatchESPN can watch the game via the Sling TV internet TV package at this link. The package, which includes a variety of channels, including ESPN, costs $20 per month. But Sling TV offers a seven-day free trial, so subscribers can choose whether or not to keep the service after watching the Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks game stream live online.
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