Celtics plan to slow Hawks 3-point barrage

Celtics plan to slow Hawks 3-point barrage
December 31, 2013, 12:45 pm

BOSTON -- The Hawks have always liked to launch from the three-point line, but since Al Horford went down with a pectoral injury three games ago they've really been bombing away.

The Hawks are averaging 24.8 threes per game this season, but in the two games without Horford they've taken an average of 39 threes. In the last three games, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, 40 percent of Atlanta's shots have been from behind the arc.

Stevens explained that he knows it will be a challenge to slow the Hawks three-point barrage.

"I think it's one of the things that a lot of teams have gone to," Stevens said. "Look at percentage of three pointers taken overall. It's a lot higher than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago and there's a reason for that. One out of three from three is as good as one out of two from two. You've got a lot more guys who can spread the floor, guys like Mike Scott, guys like [Pero] Antic that come off the bench and can hit two in a game are . . . it's scary because all of a sudden, they go from a team that can make eight-nine-ten on you to a team that can make 14-15-16 and that's a separator."

Jeff Green may be asked to try to keep one of the game's best three-point shooters -- Kyle Korver -- from getting hot.

"That's the point of attack for us on defense it to run them off the three-point line," Green said. "They've one of the best three-point shooters in the league in Kyle Korver and they have guys around him who can step out and shoot, so I think our main focus is keeping them off the three point line. That's the main focus for them offensively . . . You can't deny everybody, it's just being there on the catch and making sure they don't get good looks."

Along with Korver, Hawks guards Lou Williams, Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack are all capable of making treys as well as Scott and Antic.

"I think what we have to do is just make sure they play both ends," Green said. "We have size advantage on them, we just gotta use our length on the defensive end. It's gonna be tough to stop them from shooting, but I think if we just contest and make it hard for them when they shoot, it think that'll be our best go-to defensively."

Stevens knows it will be hard to keep all of Atlanta's three-point threats from getting open looks.

"It's not as easy as closing out hard," Stevens said. "It's how do you guard screens off the ball? How do you guard in transition? How do you guard certain individuals on the drive? Do you help on the drive? What's your awareness on the second, third passes? Are you a scrambling team or a rotating team that can get to spots? It's easier said than done. Somebody's going to get an open shot. Can't have it being the wrong guys."