Keys to the Game: Celtics 103, Hawks 101

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Key Moment

Brad Stevens has complete faith in Isaiah Thomas' decision making when a game is on the line. Friday night, he let his All-Star point guard run the show during crunch time, and it paid off big time.

The Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks were tied 101-101 with 25 seconds left in regulation. Paul Millsap had just capped off a furious Hawks comeback with a game-tying 3-pointer, and Stevens was about to motion for a timeout from the sidelines.

Isaiah Thomas, however, waved him off. He wanted to win the game right then and there, and he wanted to do it his way.

"Usually you call a timeout in that situation, but he waved it off," said Stevens. "So I was like, 'Alright, go win the game.'"

IT dribbled upcourt with Kent Bazemore in his grill. He then made a hard drive to the right elbow, stopped on a dime, pulled back for a fadeaway jumper, and swished home the go-ahead bucket with 2.4 seconds left on the clock.

The shot left the Hawks stunned. They had just battled back from a 20-point second-half deficit, and IT extinguished their fire with the ice in his veins.

The Hawks had one final chance to win the game or send it to overtime, but Millsap missed an 18-foot pull-up jumper at the buzzer, and Boston walked off with the 103-101 road win.

Thomas proved that he's not only known as the 'King in the Fourth' because of his high-volume scoring, but also because of his timely buckets and gutsy decision making when a game is on the line.

Key Player

While Isaiah Thomas undoubtedly hit the biggest shot of Friday night's game, Kelly Olynyk provided the biggest spark for Boston.

Olynyk came off the bench to score a season-high 26 points, 18 of which came during the first half. He was also incredibly efficient, hitting nine of his 11 field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

He finished two points shy of Thomas' game-high 28 points, but IT credited his high-scoring performance to Olynyk, since the 7-footer was constantly drawing attention because of his hot hand.

Olynyk also finished with eight rebounds, three assists, zero turnovers, and had a team-best plus/minus rating of plus-20.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Isaiah Thomas notched game highs in points (28) and assists (nine).
  • No player on either team managed to reach double-figures in the rebounding department.
  • Jae Crowder finished with game-best nine rebounds.
  • Boston drained eight of its 17 3-pointers during the first quarter.
  • Hawks' backup point guard Malcolm Delaney finished with a game-high plus/minus rating of plus-23.
  • Atlanta's starting point guard, Dennis Schroder, had a game-low plus/minus rating of minus-23.
  • Marcus Smart led the game with four steals, one shy of Atlanta's team total.
  • Both teams finished with 43 rebounds.
  • Both teams recorded 22 assists.
  • Both teams shot 36-of-83 from the field.
  • Both teams turned the ball over 12 times.
  • Boston assisted on all 10 of its field goals during the first quarter.
  • Seven players finished with one block, but no one recorded multiple swats.
  • Al Horford finished with 10 points, six assists and six rebounds during his return to Atlanta.

Quote of the Night

Isaiah Thomas on waving off Brad Stevens' timeout before hitting the game-winner.