The Atlanta Hawks looked to earn a repeat victory against the Boston Celtics in the second of a two-game “baseball-style” series with the Beantown Ballers. Trae Young and his squad were hoping to gain some much needed positive momentum as they begin the toughest stretch of their season.
Despite being down by 27 at one point, the Hawks showed some resilience and managed to cut the lead to 9 in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, it proved too little too late as they failed to get the win in Boston, losing 121-109.
Boston came out of the gate on fire, getting easy looks in transition and hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter. But Young was in his bag early as well, nailing a deep 3 for the Hawks’ first bucket of the game, then hitting his patented floater in the lane.
Unfortunately, Young’s hot start wasn’t enough to keep pace with Boston who shot 13/22 (59.1%) on the way to a 33-22 lead at the end of the 1st period, standing in stark contrast to the Hawks paltry 7/23 shooting mark (30.4%). The bench unit in particular went ice cold at the end of the quarter.
The 2nd quarter started very slowly for both teams with only 2 points being scored (by the Hawks) in the first 3:15 of game time. Only Clint Capela seemed immune to the cold spell that plagued the floor, watch him run in transition for the lob and jam.
It didn’t last however, as the Celtics were able to turn it around going on a 24-9 run in the final 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter, and taking a 66-41 lead into halftime. While both teams took 44 shots in the half, the Celtics made 26 to Atlanta’s 14.
To make you feel better, here’s a clip of Young breaking down Payton Pritchard for parts and draining the step-back in his face.
The second half started off better for the Hawks offensively, as they went on a 10-4 run in the first 3 minutes of the 3rd quarter. The run was capped by a Cam Reddish alley-oop in transition, triggering a Celtics timeout.
Despite the Hawks managing to develop good looks at the rim, and getting the Celtics to commit 8 turnovers in the quarter, the Celtics continued to pull away on offense, including three consecutive 3-pointers from Jaylen Brown.
One positive to come out of the the quarter was Collins finding his rhythm despite a rough first half. Here he is with some nifty footwork and a tough finish.
After 3 quarters, the Hawks were in a deep 98-73 hole. Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 22 and 21 points respectively, with Jaylen Brown and Tristan Thompson each pitching in 17 points heading into the final period.
The beginning of the 4th quarter began in the Hawk favor, as they ripped off a quick 11-0 run before the Celtics managed their first bucket. This grew to a 17-5 run to bring the game to 103-90 with 7:44 left and the Celtics calling a timeout. Watch the Solomon Hill 3 to cap off that strong run from the Hawks.
The Hawks showed perseverance and continued to whittle away at the lead, cutting it down to a 9 point deficit with 4:50 left on a Young three-point laser. The Hawks trailed by as many as 27 points earlier in the game.
But down the stretch when the Hawks needed stops, they couldn’t find any as Daniel Theis (in his first game back after a 2-game absence) went 5/5 scoring 10 of his 14 points in the last 4 and a half minutes of the quarter. The Hawks couldn’t overcome the deficit and, all told, fell to the Celtics 121-109.
Young managed a solid night finishing with a double-double, 31 and 11 assists, but it wasn’t enough for the Hawks. Walker led all scorers for Boston with 28, closely followed by Tatum with 25. The Hawks shot 42.2% (38/90) from the field, while the Celtics shot 55.6% (50/90).
The Celtics are in Atlanta for the final game of the season series next Wednesday (Feb. 24), in what will shape up to be the deciding game in the season series.