The Atlanta Hawks pulled off an improbable comeback at home Tuesday night to steal a victory away from the Boston Celtics 109-105. Atlanta trailed by as many as 23 points in the game but outscored the Celtics 59-39 over the final 24 minutes. Following the game, most of the discussion centered on the comeback.
"The resiliency of the group, after playing as poorly as we did....you have to give Boston credit," said head coach Mike Budenholzer. "They shot the ball well and executed well. They did a lot of things well in the first half, but I don't think they felt us. Our aggressiveness and activity wasn't where it needed to be for a half. I give our guys a lot of credit for finding a way to bounce back and giving ourselves a chance to win a tough game. I'm really proud of our group."
For lack of a better term, the Hawks came out flat in the first half and Boston got quite comfortable shooting 77 percent from the field in the first quarter. While the lead did grow to 23 points in the second quarter, Atlanta was lucky that it wasn't much more. They were able to whittle the lead down to a manageable distance before halftime and that set the stage for their comeback in the second half.
"I think it happened three or four times the last couple of years against these guys," said Kyle Korver. "We just played terrible in the first half and I give them credit, they shot amazing. I thought they hit a lot of tough shots. They played really well; we did not play very well. We made a couple of adjustments and came out and played with more energy and purpose. We started getting on a roll a little bit, we finally made some shots and some plays."
Dennis Schröder's role continues to grow
For the second time this season it was Dennis Schroöder who was guiding the Hawks to a win down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Schröder scored 10 of his career-high 15 points in the fourth and is playing with a lot of confidence.
"It was just a little bit of a feel," said Budenholzer. "Dennis was playing well. I just stuck with him. We've done it with different guys at different times this year. Jeff has been unbelievable and he'll continue to be unbelievable. It was just kind of a gut feel, Dennis' defense and getting in the paint....just different things. I just went with him."
Tuesday's game was the fourth straight that Schroöder has scored in double figures. During that span he is 20-35 from the field.
Kyle Korver torched the Celtics despite being the focus of their defensive effort
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talked about the matchup against Kyle Korver during the pregame and likened guarding him to trying to slow down a 30-point scorer. Korver didn't get 30 but he made them pay numerous times finishing with 24 points on a ridiculous 8-9 shooting.
"You feel like every time he shoots it, it's going in," said Budenholzer. "If you're own, you feel like maybe you can get a couple of quick three's and baskets. He creates other opportunities for other people. He's invaluable. He's a great threat, a great weapon to have. We're very lucky to have him."
Korver got off to a quick start and knocked down his first of six made three-pointers on the night off of a nice set on Atlanta's first possession of the game. He was on a roll from that point on.
"Coach ran a play for me the first play of the game to come out and get one," said Korver. "I just tried to be aggressive.