The Hawks downed Boston in double-overtime Friday night, but they should have never had that opportunity.
The Celtics led by as many as 27 points in the first half of the contest. They should have ran away with the win despite the fact that they were playing in the second night of a back-to-back.
To Atlanta’s credit, it could have easily given up at halftime. The Hawks, however, came out in the second half and took advantage of Boston’s temporary state of relaxation.
What turned the game into Atlanta’s favor was a 19-0 run in the first half of the third quarter. The Hawks used a barrage of 3-pointers to string the run together. They fired up five 3s in a span of just two minutes and 35 seconds. Three of those jumpers splashed through the net to fuel Atlanta’s push to tie the game. Josh Smith’s running layup knotted the score up at 59-59 with 6:16 remaining in the third period.
Add it all up and the Celtics had handed away a 19-point lead in just five minutes and 34 seconds of playing time. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
Boston did, however, bounce back from Atlanta’s incredible run. The Celtics recovered and played solid basketball all the way through the conclusion of the first overtime. They played neck-and-neck with a younger, more athletic team despite playing a heck of a lot of minutes in a span of just 24 hours.
At some point the gas tank was bound to run out, and that’s what happened in the second overtime. Boston scored just four points in that session and all of those points arrived after the game had already been decided.
That conclusion was inevitable in the second overtime session. Both teams knew that. The fact that this game even got to that point is what will haunt the C’s during their overnight flight back to Boston.
Key Box Score Line
Give props to Kevin Garnett. If anyone was expected to struggle under the circumstances the Celtics faced Friday night, it was him. He didn’t succumb to those circumstances. He rose up and laughed at them.
Garnett finished Friday’s game with a team-high 24 points while also tying for the team high in rebounds with 10. He picked up four assists and hit 11 of his 18 shots overall during the contest.
Those numbers are impressive, but what’s even more impressive is that the Big Ticket lasted for 38 minutes and 28 seconds of playing time. Those who aren’t associated with the NBA don’t understand how difficult it is to play a tough basketball game against a division rival, then travel 1,000 miles only to arrive at the hotel at 3:30 a.m., and then play another solid basketball team the upcoming night. That’s what Garnett and the C’s did over the past 24 hours, yet KG was still able to give his team more than 38 legitimate minutes of ball. He was a trooper, and he did everything he could to give the Celtics an opportunity to win the game.
Box Score Nuggets
- Seven Celtics scored at least 12 points, led by Kevin Garnett's 24.
- Garnett (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Al Horford (24 points, 13 rebounds) nearly tallied the exact same numbers as the two starting centers.
- All of Boston's starters finished with a negative plus/minus rating.
- Three Hawks scored at least 20 points, led by Kyle Korver's 27 points.
- Korver shot 8-of-12 from 3-point range.
- Boston dished out 28 assists, while Atlanta totaled 31.
- Two Celtics and one Hawks player fouled out of the game.
- Rajon Rondo recorded his second consecutive triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
- The Celtics made all 20 of their free throws.
- Each team had at least one bench player finish with a plus/minus rating of at least plus-20 (Jeff Green for Boston, Devin Harris for Atlanta).
- Atlanta shot 12-of-36 from downtown.
Quote of the Night
I just told our guys, 'You can't win without humility.' Doc Rivers on what he told his team after Friday's devastating loss