The Boston Celtics made up for their disappointing performance on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks by taking them down tonight by a score of 121-109. All five starters and Rob Williams scored double digit points as the Celtics dominated the Hawks for most of the game. Kemba Walker dropped 28 points, while Jayson Tatum chipped in 25 of his own as they were able to move back to one game over .500.
The Celtics led for all but one minute of this game, as they jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter and never looked back. They led at the end of the first by 11, and that lead ballooned to 25 by halftime. The C’s got help from all over the place, with Kemba Walker leading the way with 20 points. It was great to see Kemba pick up where he left off after missing the previous matchup with the Hawks, as this was arguably his best performance of the season.
The Celtics would ultimately allow the Hawks to bring the lead back down to nine midway through the fourth quarter before Walker helped put the game away for good. Despite bringing the game to within single digits, the Hawks never seriously threatened to take the lead, and the Celtics were eventually able to close the game out.
Despite falling into a bit of a lull in the fourth quarter, this was a great team win for the Celtics. They were firing on all cylinders through the first three quarters, and it was the best they’ve looked in quite some time. After failing to get much going in the paint on either side of the ball last game, Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson did a much better job in this game. They combined for 31 points, and did a much better job in slowing down Atlanta’s bigs, particularly John Collins. Rob Williams also came off the bench and poured in 12 points of his own. When the bigs can put in a solid effort on both ends, it makes them a lot tougher to beat.
Along with their production, the C’s got the usual efficient performances from Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum has been filling up the stat sheet in recent games, as he also had eight rebounds and six assists along with his 25 points. Jaylen Brown only had 17 points, but he really didn’t have to do much in this one with Walker stepping up. Brown also chipped in six assists of his own, as he continues to grow as a playmaker. The Celtics had 26 assists as a team, and it’s becoming clearer with each performance that they are a better team when they are moving the ball around the floor rather than settling for isolation plays,
With all the positive performances on the night, it was interesting to see Payton Pritchard struggle to extent he did tonight. Pritchard failed to hit a single shot and only recorded one rebound in his 17 minutes of action. Pritchard was a team worst -18 in plus minus, and he really struggled to find his way in this contest. With the way Pritchard has been performing throughout the season, it’s tough to get overly concerned with one bad performance, but it will still raise some flags either way.
The Celtics will head back on the road for a quick three game trip down south, with the first game being against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. They will have to figure out how to slow down the dangerous duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram if they want to come out on top. Williamson in particular has been on a tear recently, as he’s lived up to the reputation he developed throughout his time in college. If the Celtics can play like they did tonight for the first three quarters against the Hawks, they will have a good shot to win their second game in a row.
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