Posted on November 24, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The Boston Celtics entered the season as one of the teams many thought could win the Eastern Conference. With all of the talent on the roster healthy and LeBron James now playing in the Western Conference, it was not hard to see why. But the team has struggled to get it together so far this season. Heading into Friday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, they were riding a three-game losing streak.
The last of the three losses came Wednesday night against a lackluster New York Knicks team, 117-109.
So, while the Hawks have not been a strong team this season, with how the Celtics have been playing it was anyone’s game. However, once it started, it became crystal clear who the night was going to belong to.
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The Celtics took charge of the game from the onset by getting out to a 20-11 lead midway through the first quarter. But by the time the first quarter ended, they led by 22 points, 45-23. Boston could do no wrong hitting 64 percent of their shots from the floor including going 8-12 from beyond the arc.
When you get off to such a hot start, there is inevitably going to be a cool down period. You hope for it to last no more than a few minutes. But it ended up lasting the second period. Boston struggled to hit shots making just four of 17 attempts and scoring 16 points.
While their offense was off, Boston’s defense did fine by holding the Hawks to 22 points. Going into the half, Boston still held a double-digit advantage, 61-45.
The game ended up being close in the second half. Boston started the third quarter with a short scoring spurt. But then a 16-2 run by the Hawks cut the Celtics lead down to 15. Boston continued to have trouble hitting shots in the third but hit a few late to push the lead out to 18, 82-64 heading into the final period.
Atlanta never really threatened. Boston led by as much as 27 at one point and went on to win by 18 points. The final score—Boston 114 and Atlanta 96.
Aron Baynes led the way for the Celtic with 16 points and nine rebounds followed by Jayson Tatum with 14 and Kyrie Irving with 13. Boston ended up having six players score in double figures, four starters and two guys off the bench.
Jeremy Lin led the way for Atlanta with 19 points off the bench. Starting forward John Collins chipped in 16 but the rest of the Hawks starting five scored just 14.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens sounded pleased with his team after the game:
“I just thought our pace was really good, starters and the bench. Defensively, we were really locked in and engaged until the end of the game when we gave up those runouts.”
The Celtics will not have long to enjoy the win. The Dallas Mavericks come to town for a game Saturday night. Atlanta will try to bring their ten-game losing streak to an end Sunday when they face Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets.