Keys to the Game: Celtics 94, Hawks 87

Celtics 94, Hawks 87 - Atlanta, GA
By Marc D'Amico, November 23, 2013

Key Moment

The Atlanta Hawks went on a 17-5 run to close out the third quarter of Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics. That spurt put Atlanta on top 74-64 heading into the fourth, which acted as the first double-digit lead of the game for either team.

Boston had a decision to make during the break between quarters. Would it fold in the face of adversity after a quarter in which it was outscored 21-15? Or would it buckle up and battle back to make this one a game in the final quarter?

The Celtics chose the latter.

Atlanta opened up the fourth period with a bucket but it was all Boston from that point on. The C’s immediately responded by going on a 16-5 run over the next five and a half minutes to slice the Hawks’ lead all the way down to one, at 81-80.

That run didn’t put Boston on top, but it did put all of the momentum in its corner. The C’s maintained that momentum throughout the final five minutes of the game and finished the contest with their largest lead of the game, at 94-87.

Boston’s victory snapped a six-game losing streak that could have easily increased to seven Saturday night. The C’s decided heading into the final frame that they simply weren’t going to allow that to happen.

Key Box Score Line

Jordan Crawford is getting used to this spot, isn’t he? Crawford logged Friday night’s Key Box Score line by leading the C’s with 24 points, and he’s here again tonight after logging Boston’s only double-double on Saturday.

Crawford led the Celtics to a 94-87 victory by scoring 12 points and tying for the game high in assists with 10. Crawford also grabbed three boards during his 35 minutes of action and led the game in plus/minus rating with a plus-24.

Those numbers are all fantastic on the surface, but they look even better when you take into account what Crawford did during the fourth quarter. He scored 10 of his 12 points and dished out two of his 10 assists in the final frame. We’ll do the math for you: that means that Crawford single-handedly accounted for 14 of Boston’s 30 points in the fourth quarter.

Box Score Nuggets

  • All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures, led by Brandon Bass' 17 points.
  • Jordan Crawford logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.
  • Boston outscored Atlanta 30-13 in the final quarter.
  • The game featured 11 ties and eight lead changes.
  • Atlanta shot just 38.7 percent from the field.
  • All five of Boston's starters finished with a positive plus/minus rating, led by Crawford's plus-24.
  • Jared Sullinger grabbed a game-high nine boards.
  • Al Horford scored a game-high 18 points.
  • The two starting point guards, Crawford (12 points, 10 assists, three rebounds) and Jeff Teague (13 points, 10 assists, four rebounds) logged nearly identical stats.
  • The C's managed to win despite being outscored in three key categories: points in the paint (44-32), second-chance points (16-12) and fast break points (11-8).
  • All 10 of the game's starters played between 31:39 and 35:16.
  • Teague's three steals matched the total of steals by Boston's entire team.

Quote of the Night

It was very tough, but once you step inside this rectangle, you've just got to play basketball and all that stuff steps out the door.
Jared Sullinger, who logged 15 points and nine rebounds, on playing through Saturday night's game while not feeling well

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