Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
So this is what happens when the Celtics make 3s, eh?
Boston and Atlanta were knotted up at 45-45 when they headed into their respective locker rooms at halftime. When the teams headed into crunch time, however, the C’s had already pulled ahead by as many as 15 en route to a 106-93 victory.
The tenor of the contest changed once Boston began canning 3s midway through the third period. The team had hit just five of its initial 20 attempts on the night before splashing home three out of four over a stretch of just three minutes and 41 seconds.
Kelly Olynyk and Isaiah Thomas played a two-man game for all three of those buckets.
First came Olynyk, who drilled a trey from the left wing after Thomas found him with a beautiful left-handed, behind-the-back pass. Olynyk’s 3 gave Boston a 62-60 lead at the 5:10 mark of the third, and it never trailed from that point on.
Boston’s next 3-pointer came off of the hands of Thomas. The smallest player on the court drifted to the left corner of the court as his big buddy, Olynyk, penetrated from the left wing. Olynyk saw Thomas’ defender sag in to help defend his drive and kicked to an open Thomas, who then splashed one home from the corner.
Olynyk nailed the final game-deciding 3. His came from the top of the key after Thomas gave him a dribble-handoff. Olynyk rose up as his defender, Paul Millsap, ducked below Thomas’ screen and the 7-footer rattled one home to put Boston on top 74-65, its largest lead of the night to that point.
Between Olynyk’s first trey and Thomas’ 3, the C’s also got a layup from Amir Johnson on a beautiful fast break, a tip-in layup from Jae Crowder, and a left-handed layup from Thomas off of a dish from Johnson.
There is no doubt that the C’s needed to make multiple plays down the stretch to win this game, most notably two more 3s from Thomas and an and-one bucket from Evan Turner, but Boston held a multiple-possession lead for all but 23 seconds of the rest of the game en route to their win over the East’s most winningest team.
Welcome to the double-double books, Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas has been Boston’s leading scorer five times now following his 23-point performance Friday night against Atlanta. However, he had yet to have notched a double-digit assist performance to go along with those points.
Thomas dished out a season-best 10 helpers against the Hawks to mark his first double-digit assist night since Game 1 against the Cavs last postseason. The performance marked just his third double-digit assist night in a Celtics uniform.
Take this into consideration: Amir Johnson, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Tyler Zeller are all still seeking their first double-double of the season. Thomas is now tied for second on the team in double-doubles, two behind Jared Sullinger, who tallied 10 points and 10 boards against Atlanta.
Surely, Sullinger is happy to see his 5-foot-9 teammate by his side in the double-double books. Boston is a handful when Thomas is scoring, and it might be two handfuls when he’s dishing, too.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics led by as many as 15 points, while Atlanta's largest lead was just five.
- Isaiah Thomas led the game in both points (23) and assists (10).
- Jared Sullinger notched his third straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
- Boston attempted 33 3-pointers and connected on 11 of them.
- No player on Atlanta's roster scored more than 14 points.
- The C's outrebounded the Hawks by a count of 50-35, including a 17-5 edge on the offensive glass.
- Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to score 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
- Boston shot 66 percent from the field during the second half.
- Jeff Teague, Atlanta's leading scorer and assist man, logged just six points and three assists.
- Boston outscored Atlanta 24-7 in second-chance points.
- Amir Johnson broke out with 19 points, eight boards and four assists.
- Atlanta (47.4 percent) outshot Boston (40.8 percent) by a wide margin, but the C's attempted 27 more shots than the Hawks.
- Boston committed only 10 turnovers in the game.
- Jae Crowder, who leads the NBA in steals per game, grabbed another four Friday night.
- Atlanta, which averages more than nine 3-point makes per game, connected on only six.
Quote of the Night
You could see it in our shootaround. He was going 100 miles per hour during our 4:15 p.m. shootaround.
Brad Stevens on Amir Johnson's energy. Johnson tallied 19 points and eight boards against Atlanta.