By now, most of the Peachtree Hoops readers know that the Atlanta Hawks are currently struggling. Coming into their matchup against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, they lost seven of the last eight games and have fallen out of the Eastern Conference Playoff picture.
On Wednesday night in Boston, the Hawks were able to get back into the win column, beating the Celtics 122-114.
The Hawks are still suffering from key injuries — most importantly to De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic — and the team has been struggling to remain healthy throughout the entirety of the current campaign.
The first half was a tight battle that tilted in the Hawks’ favor. Atlanta was able to score inside well in the opening period. John Collins and Trae Young showed off their connection early.
That's tough pic.twitter.com/0Qcrw3ndd9— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
The Hawks held star duo Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to modest numbers to begin the game and Collins and Young tied for a game-leading nine points after the first quarter.
However, Boston won the first quarter 35-33 after the two teams scored back and forth.
Let it fly, Trae! pic.twitter.com/P15WvBWL2O— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
Cam Reddish was a particular player that showed signs of solid scoring in the paint.
Go ahead, Cam! pic.twitter.com/sMRq225Y2V— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
Clint Capela came alive in the second quarter. He was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field in the first half, finishing with 12 points. Young was the leading scorer for Atlanta with 15 of his own.
This right here. pic.twitter.com/bbyOGrPhTH— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
The Hawks took the second quarter battle and led the Celtics 62-56 at halftime, but Hunter’s absence in this game reigned true. Tatum erupted for 12 points in the second, and he led all scorers with 19 points at halftime. Hunter would likely draw the primary assignment of guarding one of the most skilled offensive players in the league in Tatum.
Cam Fam pic.twitter.com/AVXGU38iL7— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
The Hawks found even more success in the third quarter, adding to their halftime lead.
Capela was able to reach a double-double in the third period, which is a feat that is becoming too common for him.
Third time's a charm pic.twitter.com/z5N7GAcCTi— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
The Hawks’ shooting numbers are the best indicator of why they were aheads at this juncture. Young finished the quarter at 8/13 from the field and the Hawks were shooting 59% from the field at the end of the third.
In contrast, the Celtics were only able to muster up 44.8% at that juncture, contributing to the 90-81 deficit they found themselves in at the end of the third period.
Lookin’ like Houdini! pic.twitter.com/7q7EasKBbS— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
Cook up pic.twitter.com/yGTrwe1vVb— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
The lead that the Hawks established in quarters two and three did not wane in the fourth. After the Hawks controlled the second quarter, they controlled the pace of the game, as the Celtics were just unable to catch up.
YESSSSIR TRAE pic.twitter.com/NkS1inFrW0— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
The fourth quarter involved a lot of Young and Capela scoring, and why go against what has been working the entire game? Young took over in the last 12 minutes.
30 points & counting ❄️ pic.twitter.com/oAOnJakHwy— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
Young even broke a franchise record tonight, becoming the fastest player in Hawks history to reach 4,000 career points.
.@TheTraeYoung becomes the fastest player in Hawks history to reach the 4,000 career point mark! pic.twitter.com/AXNNImvjEE— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 18, 2021
He erupted for 40 points and eight assists. He shot 44.4% from deep and was perfect from the free-throw line. Capela had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Collins added 20 points.
Tatum countered Young with 35 points of his own, but it was not enough to pull out the win at the end of the fourth quarter.
These teams will meet again on Friday night, and the Hawks will look to keep the positive energy going and sweep them on the week.