For a while, it seemed like the Boston Celtics were going to cruise to a victory Saturday afternoon over the visiting Atlanta Hawks. Things didn’t go quite as planned, however, after Boston’s 25-point, second-half lead disappeared with 5:53 left in the game.
Atlanta battled all the way back to make it a 112-112 game at that moment, which prompted the Celtics to turn it back into overdrive. They did so, thanks to stellar effort from many of their top players.
Immediately following that tie score, the Celtics rattled off a 9-0 run that regained control of the game.
The run began with an end-to-end sequence that opened up with a steal by Marcus Smart against Rookie of the Year candidate Trae Young. Smart ripped the steal from Young, and the Celtics got out in transition in the other direction.
The C’s often talk about passing up good shots for great shots. That’s what they did on the ensuing possession.
Jaylen Brown could have taken a driving layup. Marcus Morris could have taken a 3 from the right wing. Marcus Smart could have taken a 3 from the top of the arc. Al Horford could have turned for a jumper from just inside the free-throw line.
But Horford instead kicked a pass out to Brown, who was waiting patiently and wide-open in the right corner. Brown caught it, took his time to gather himself, and canned the trey to push Boston ahead.
Brown then drew a charge on Vince Carter at the other end, and Morris canned a jumper for Boston to make it a five-point game. Morris added in two free throws, and then Brown made a running finger roll layup to cap the run at 9-0.
Boston led 121-112 at the point, with 3:38 left on the clock. That lead was all the C’s needed to hold the Hawks off and log their fifth win in their last six games by a count of 129-120.
Kyrie Irving fell just one assist shy of logging his second consecutive 30-point triple-double, which is quite impressive. We’re gonna give one of his teammates love today, though, and that teammate is Jaylen Brown.
Brown broke the 22-point barrier Saturday afternoon for the third straight game while he and the C’s took down the visiting Hawks. He had scored 22 points during each of his last two games and upped that number to 23 against Atlanta.
The third-year wing, who is blossoming in his role as a reserve, made eight of his 14 shots and three of his five 3-pointers. As is stated in our Key Moment section, one of those treys was one of the biggest shots of the game.
Brown added in three rebounds and two assists. His scoring, however, was the game-changer. He scored his 23 points during only 26-plus minutes of action. In comparison, Irving scored his 30 in nearly 36 minutes of action.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kyrie Irving recorded game highs of 30 points and nine assists. His 11 rebounds also tied Marcus Morris for the team high in that category.
- Five Celtics scored at least 16 points.
- Aron Baynes scored only five points, but Boston outscored Atlanta by 18 points during his 17:25 of playing time.
- Trtae Young led Atlanta with 26 points.
- Jaylen Brown led all reserves with 23 points.
- The C's led by as many as 25 points.
- Only two Hawks players, Jaylen Adams and DeAndre' Bembry, finished with positive plus/minus ratings.
- Boston dished out 30 assists.
- Irving and Morris each blocked two shots.
- Morris logged his second straight double-double with 19 points and 11 boards.
- John Collins stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Quote of the Night
He’s fillin' it up right now in every category.
Brad Stevens on Kyrie Irving.