The Hawks solidified a 2023 NBA playoff spot Tuesday night with an impressive win at Kaseya Center.
Atlanta’s reward? A date with the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
By taking down the Miami Heat in the first play-in tournament game of the week, the Hawks claimed the East’s seventh seed and secured a first-round matchup with the Celtics. Boston might be the NBA’s best team when firing on all cylinders, and it should feel extra confident going into Round 1 after taking all three games in its regular-season series against Atlanta with an average margin of victory of 13 points.
Nonetheless, Dejounte Murray is thoroughly embracing the Hawks’ best-of-seven set with the Celtics.
“I love (the matchup),” Murray told reporters after Tuesday’s game, per The Boston Globe. “Obviously Boston’s at the top because they went to the Finals last year. But last year is last year. Me personally, I want the best. That’s how I was raised, to want to play the best. Boston is one of the best and it’s going to be a great series and we’re going to go out there and try to win.”
The sportsbooks indicate Murray and company shouldn’t feel very confident about their prospects of moving past the Celtics. As of Wednesday morning, Boston is a -1000 favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook to eliminate Atlanta and move on to the East semifinals.
The C’s and the Hawks will get the ball rolling with Game 1 on Saturday. Tip-off from TD Garden is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.