Just like any team in the NBA can do, the Atlanta Hawks made a run Friday night at TD Garden. Fortunately for Boston, the Celtics responded with key buckets on critical possessions.
Boston stemmed the tide, so to speak, when it answered two of Atlanta’s baskets in the fourth quarter.
A lead that was once as many as 15 points had dwindled all the way down to six after Kyle Korver made a layup with 7:33 remaining. Doc Rivers, knowing that momentum was swinging into Atlanta's corner, called for an immediate timeout. He drew up a play that led to a Jason Terry jump shot from the left wing that was nothing but net.
That shot put Boston back on top by eight but the Hawks were ready to put the pressure on yet again. Korver scored for the second consecutive possession with a smooth jumper off of an Anthony Tolliver pass.
The Celtics didn’t wilt in the face of pressure on their previous possession, and they weren’t about to do so on this one. Brandon Bass drilled a jumper from the left corner off of a Terry pass to put Boston back on top by eight points with 6:37 remaining in the game. Terry then put the game firmly in the Celtics’ grasp with a 3-pointer on the team’s next possession to make it a 105-94 game with less than six minutes remaining.
Terry’s 3-pointer was the shot that gave Boston a comfortable lead, but it was Boston's previous two baskets that thwarted Atlanta’s momentum. Had the Celtics not responded to the Hawks’ consecutive makes, this game may have had a very different result.
Key Box Score Line
You don’t think about Shavlik Randolph when you think about Celtics MVPs, but you should after his performance Friday night at TD Garden.
Randolph played big minutes and gave an incredible effort during Boston’s win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks. He finished the game with nine points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds, including seven at the offensive end of the floor. Those seven offensive boards matched the highest overall rebounding total of any Atlanta player.
Those numbers are impressive, but the stats don’t stop there. He also blocked a two shots and finished with a plus-12 in the plus/minus category, meaning that the Celtics outscored the Hawks by 12 points during the 22 minutes of action in which he was on the floor.
Simply put, the Celtics were a much better team when he was on the floor than they were when he was off of it. Randolph was a game-changer and an MVP Friday night.
Box Score Nuggets
- Josh Smith shot just 7-of-23 from the field.
- Both teams scored 44 points in the paint.
- Paul Pierce notched a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
- Jeff Green scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting.
- Both teams committed 13 turnovers. However, Boston scored 20 points off of Atlanta's turnovers while the Hawks scored only 10 off of the Celtics' giveaways.
- The teams combined to attempt 43 3-pointers.
- Boston scored at least 26 points in all four quarters.
- Shavlik Randolph grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
- Brandon Bass blocked a game-high three shots.
- Randolph's seven offensive boards matched the total rebound number of Atlanta's top rebounder.
- Jason Terry had a phenomenal shooting night, making seven of his 10 shots, five of his seven 3-pointers and five of his six free throws en route to 24 points.
- Three Atlanta reserves led the Hawks in the three major statistical categories, with Mike Scott scoring 19 points, Anthony Tolliver grabbing seven boards, and Shelvin Mack dishing out nine assists.
- Pierce led the game with a plus-28 in the plus/minus category.
Quote of the Night
All we've asked him to do is, 'Every time you get it, be a locomotive. Literally. Be a locomotive.' Doc Rivers on his direction to Terrence Williams regarding fast breaks