The Atlanta Hawks staged a big fourth-quarter rally to earn their seventh road win of the season in a 109-101 victory over the Boston Celtics. Atlanta overcame a 10 point first half deficit and outscored the Celtics 38-28 in the fourth quarter to surge ahead and claim the victory.
"To grind a game out on the road against a physical team, a defensive team, was good," Mike Budenholzer said after the game. "I think we finally caught a good rhythm in the fourth quarter. I thought the ball movement, the decisions, the passes were really helpful. And we were able to get enough stops."
The Hawks struggled to make jump shots throughout the game but compensated by relentlessly attacking the basket. Atlanta ended the game with a 68-36 advantage in points in the paint and a 16-9 edge in second-chance points. Atlanta shot 58 percent from the field in the fourth and attempted just two three-point attempts. They finished 4 of 20 from three-point range for the game.
"It was kind of a strange game," Budenholzer added. "They had a cushion. I think the end of the second quarter, that group came back and closed the gap. That three or four minutes at the end of the second quarter was big. Obviously, the fourth quarter and the way we were able to execute down the stretch."
Paul Millsap led the charge in the fourth scoring 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. Al Horford logged a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Dennis Schröder came off the bench to score a team-high 22 points while stepping in for a banged up Jeff Teague.
Schröder steps up in Teague's absence
Like most of his teammates, Dennis Schröder's start to the 2016 season has been inconsistent at best but he is showing signs of settling into a rhythm. Schröder played the final 16 minutes of Friday's win after Jeff Teague tweaked an ankle in the third quarter.
"Jeff turned his ankle there at the five-minute mark of the third quarter, Budenholzer said. "He probably could have gone back in."
With Schröder playing well, the Hawks elected to err on the side of caution with Teague and Dennis finished with one of his best games of the season. Schröder scored nine of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. He also finished with five assists, four steals and zero turnovers.
Schröder has now scored in double figures in three straight games and has turned the ball over just three times during that stretch. His decision making was what was hampering him throughout the first part of the season, but it appears that he is slowly starting to turn the corner and that is good news for Atlanta.
Tightening the rotation
Atlanta's rotation has been a bit unsettled over the first quarter of the season due to injury and the coaching staff searching for a combination that works. With the team now mostly healthy, the rotation seems to be falling into place.
Budenholzer went 10 deep in Friday's win with eight players seeing significant minutes. Mike Scott and Lamar Patterson both saw action but played less than 10 minutes each. The starters were in the 33-37 minute range with Thabo Sefolosha (19 minutes) and Tiago Splitter (18 minutes) seeing significant time off the bench.