Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 110, Hawks 99

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

Saturday night in Atlanta, we were kindly introduced to #MarcusSquared.

That’s Marcus Smart plus Marcus Morris, if you couldn’t figure it out.

That duo was the key to Boston’s fourth comeback victory of the season after trailing by at least 16 points. This time, the comeback took place in Atlanta, after the Hawks opened the game with red-hot shooting.

Atlanta jumped out to a 31-15 lead to start the game and finished the first quarter with a 15-point advantage after hitting 64.7 percent of its shots. This was all done against the NBA’s far-and-away best defense.

Boston’s defense began to figure things out during the second quarter, and the offense had a lot to do with that fact. Defense typically fuels offense, but this time, the opposite was the case.

Smart and Morris combined to score Boston’s first 18 points of the second quarter, quickly slicing a 15-point deficit all the way down to four. The duo needed only four-plus minutes to score the first 17 points of the run, and Smart added in a free throw a minute later.

Smart’s points came from the perimeter (two made 3-pointers) and the free-throw line (two made free throws), while Morris’ points arrived via impressive isolation buckets. They combined to shoot 5-for-7 from the field during the 18-point stretch.

Boston needed a jolt of energy, and that’s exactly what #MarcusSquared delivered. Their run woke the C’s up, and as a result, they began to take control of the game.

Boston went on to outscore Atlanta 90-64 over the final three quarters, all while limiting the Hawks to 42.6 percent shooting, en route to its 110-99 victory.

So while you’ll easily remember the team’s big buckets during the fourth quarter, don’t allow yourself to forget that game-changing run by newly-introduced #MarcusSquared at the start of the second quarter.

Key Player

What a weekend for Jaylen Brown.

Amid pain and despair, the 21-year-old swingman put together the best two-game stretch of his young NBA career, culminating in a career-best 27-point performance Saturday night in Atlanta.

Brown very publicly suffered through the death of his best friend, who passed away Wednesda, Thursday night as he scored 22 points against the Golden State Warriors. He held back tears after the game while discussing his personal loss, then he took off on a commercial flight at 6 a.m. Friday morning to Atlanta, where he, his friends and family came together to celebrate his best friend’s life.

The turmoil did not affect Brown, and in fact, it has seemingly to motivated him. He rejoined the team for shootaround Saturday morning, then took the court in Atlanta at night and put forth the best offensive performance of his career.

Brown converted on 10 of his 13 field goal attempts in the game, a 76.9 percent clip. He made four of his six 3-pointers on the night. He also grabbed four rebounds and a steal during 35-plus minutes of action.

We’ve never seen this version of Brown before. He is playing an incredibly inspired – and incredibly efficient – brand of basketball right now in the memory of his dearest friend.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 30 points.
  • Jaylen Brown was right on his heels with a career-high 27.
  • Irving shot an impressive 10-for-12 from the field and Brown shot 10-for-13 from the field.
  • Both teams led by double-digits in the game.
  • The final margin of 11 accounted for Boston's largest lead of the night.
  • Boston outscored Atlanta by 18 points while Marcus Morris was on the court.
  • Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 23 points.
  • The teams shot nearly identical percentages from the field: 47.6 percent by Boston, and 47.4 percent by Atlanta.
  • No player on either team grabbed more than eight rebounds.
  • Schroder led the game with nine assists.
  • Boston shot 16-for-34 (47.1 percent) from long range.
  • Both teams shot 16-for-20 from the free-throw line.
  • John Collins led all reserves with 18 points.
  • Jayson Tatum grabbed a game-high four steals.
  • The C's blocked six shots, while the Hawks blocked only one.

Quote of the Night

I could see just a little bit more of the crowd tonight. The eye holes are a little bit bigger. The basket looked a little bit better.

Kyrie Irving on his new and upgraded face mask.

Key Player