Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 99, Hawks 76
Celtics 99, Hawks 76
Say goodbye to your winning ways against the Celtics, Atlanta. If tonight was any indication, those days seem to be long gone.
One day after suffering a shameful loss in Toronto, Boston put this game away from the very tip. The Celtics didn't just lead from start to finish, they dominated from start to finish.
Paul Pierce got the blowout underway with a jumper on Boston's first possession and the C's continued to pour it on from there. Just 1:42 into the game, the Celtics had already built an 8-2 lead. That lead quickly increased with an arsenal of offense that included every player hitting on all cylinders.
By the time the first quarter came to a close, some Hawks fans may have already left Phillips Arena for the night. Boston built a 39-13 lead over the first 12 minutes that featured three Celtics - Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Nate Robinson - accumulating fantastic numbers. Garnett finished the first quarter with nine points and three rebounds, O'Neal racked up six points and five boards, and Robinson scored nine points to go along with five assists. As a team, the Celtics shot a blistering 18-of-25 from the field and limited Atlanta to only 4-of-17 shooting.
It was inspired basketball from start to finish from Boston and it certainly paid off in the end. Garnett said bluntly after the game that his team was "mad" after their Sunday afternoon loss to the Raptors. That may have been an understatement judging by the first quarter of tonight's game.
Key Box Score Line
Stash this one into the early-season collection of games that prove Kevin Garnett is back to his old self. KG was dominant tonight at both ends of the floor and the game pretty much ran through him. He finished with a game-high 17 points and tied with Shaquille O'Neal for the game-high in rebounds with 11. His offense was unstoppable, as he shot 8-of-10 from the floor and dished out five assists while he wasn't scoring the basketball himself.
Now on to the best part: his defense was even better. Though the box score shows just one block and one steal, Garnett dominated this game at the defensive end. He took Josh Smith, considered by many to be an All-Star at this point in the season, completely out of the game and limited him to just two points on the night on 0-of-3 shooting.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three Celtics notched double-doubles: Kevin Garnett with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Shaquille O'Neal with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Nate Robinson with 16 points and 10 assists.
- Boston attempted six less field goals than Atlanta but made 12 more.
- The Celtics outrebounded the Hawks 50-30.
- All 12 active Celtics played and each of them scored at least two points.
- The teams combined to commit only 27 fouls (14 by Boston, 13 by Atlanta). This comes just one day after the C's and Raptors combined for 55 fouls in Sunday's game.
- Not a single Hawks player scored more than 11 points.
- Conversely, four celtics scored at least 13 points.
- Boston shot 53.3 percent from the field to Atlanta's 34.6 percent.
- Fpr the second straight game, all five of Boston's starters finished with a positive plus/minus rating and every reserve finished in the minus.
- Nate Robinson's 30:24 of playing time was the most of any Celtic starter.
- Atlanta's starters combined for 27 points 11 rebounds and nine assists.
- The Hawks scored only 13 points in the first quarter, while Boston scored only 14 in the fourth.
- Nate Robinson became the first Celtic this season not named Rajon Rondo to record double-digit assists with 10.
- The C's finished with five steals. Five separate Celtics each accounted for one of those steals.
- Seven Celtics grabbed one offensive rebound. Shaq was the only Celtic who grabbed more than one, as he finished with three.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers touches on the importance of what wasn't said before Monday's game: "Before the game I don’t even think I said the word offense. Our defensive disposition from the start was terrific."