Boston (10-9): 114-Atlanta (3-16): 96
Kyrie Irving: 13 PTS 4 REB 3 AST 1 STL
Aron Baynes: 16 PTS 9 REB 4 AST 1 BLK
Jayson Tatum: 14 PTS 2 REB 2 AST 1 BLK 1 STL
John Collins: 16 PTS 7 REB
Jeremy Lin.: 19 PTS 5 REB 10 AST 3 STL
DeAndre’ Bembry: 14 PTS 7 REB 4 AST 4 BLK 2 STL
After their 3 game losing streak the Celtics had an opportunity to turn things around against an abysmal Atlanta Hawks team. They did just that and came out with purpose from the opening tip. These guys were not messing around as in the first quarter they could not miss and were taking it to the Hawks. 16-25 from the floor, 8-12 from three, and 5-5 from the free throw line in the first is what led the Celtics out to a big lead. They even did it with exquisite ball movement as they had 12 dimes in the quarter. Aron Baynes led this assist movement with 4 of his own in the quarter as him and Kyrie played so well off of the pick and roll/pop together. Baynes is so big and Kyrie can easily slink behind him and find an opening to get his shot off. As a team they dropped 45 on the Hawks in the first and from then on it was clear that this one would be a laugher.
The second quarter was basically just the Celtic bench playing as no starter besides Kyrie logged more than 5 minutes in the quarter. After it seemed like they wouldn’t miss a shot all game, they faltered in the second. 4-18 from the field and it became a rock fight as the Celtics finished the quarter with 16 points, but still took a 61-45 lead into halftime. Turnovers were an issue as they had 6 in the quarter but the incompetency of the Hawks helped the Celtics. Even as the Celtics kept handing them the ball they simply just didn’t have the talent to compete. It was a very sloppy quarter for the Celtics and they’re lucky it didn’t come back to bite them.
The third was another poor showing of basketball from both teams as they went a combined 15-46 from the floor (yuck). The one high point was a thunderous put-back dunk by Tatum off of a Morris miss. It was such a weird game in the sense that, you knew it was over, but the Hawks stuck around getting the lead down to as low as 15 after the Celtics had led by 29 midway through the third.
The fourth was more of a formality, but it was fun to see the end of the bench out there for a change. This season, they haven’t had many blowouts/opportunities to rest starters so we haven’t seen the back end of the bench as much. We got to see the likes of Robert Williams, Semi, Yabu, and Wanamaker. These blowout situations are important as Brad can get to see what the non-rotational guys can do in a real game. Injuries happen and he might need to use some of these guys down the road. Albeit garbage time, it can give guys confidence and goes a long way in having strength on your roster 1 through 15. The Celtics took care of business and walked out of Atlanta with a 114-96 victory.
- While I’m not going to sit here and anoint the Celtics the second coming after beating the Hawks, it was nice to see. They came in and took care of business in a fashion we haven’t really seen yet this season. They stepped on the Hawk’s throats early and never looked back.
- Gordon Hayward has quietly been starting to figure it out. He finished with 11 points 5 rebounds 4 assists and 2 blocks on 4-7 shooting. Since being relegated to the bench he’s had 2 solid games out of 3. Against the Knicks on Wednesday he had 19 and even hit a huge three down the stretch to give the Celtics a chance. I think this helped with his confidence and his jumpshot looks a lot better than it has for most of the season.
- While they did blow Atlanta out, things got really sloppy in the second and third quarters. They went 14-44 and 3-21 from three while also tallying 9 turnovers. Last night it didn’t matter because it’s the Hawks but they continue to fall asleep for quarters at a time. They haven’t played 48 straight good minutes of basketball yet and that’s still concerning
- Robert Williams impressed me in the limited minutes he logged. He is a force down low and if he’s blocking shots and being aggressive on the glass he’s tough to deal with. I hope we see more of him as his development is something to monitor this season.
Player of the Game: Aron Baynes
Stepping in for Hayward in the starting 5 Baynes was great. Him and Kyrie operated efficiently in the pick and roll and got a multitude of easy baskets. He did it early and often and his contributions can’t be overstated. 16 poiints 5-7 from the floor 1-1 from three and 5-5 from the line. The offense from him is what really lifted the Celtics out to their early lead. Couple that with his stout defense and you can see why Baynes is the player of the game.
The Celtics visit the Mavericks (8-9) tonight 11/24 in Dallas for an 8:30 ET tipoff.
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