Well, that was surprisingly easy. The Celtics dismantled the Hawks, 99-76, and might have silenced a few of their recent critics along the way.
- The first quarter was perhaps the single most dominant quarter of the Kevin Garnett era for the Celtics. They outscored the Hawks 39-13, shot a blistering 72 percent from the field (18-25), committed just two turnovers, and out-rebounded the Hawks 16-3.
- But it was the team's first quarter defense that stole the show. The C's applied great ball pressure, contested practically every shot, made great rotations - particularly inside - and held the Hawks to 4-17 shooting (23.5 percent). It was a defensive clinic for the first 12 minutes.
- The Hawks responded somewhat with a 29-point second quarter, but the C's managed to score 25 points themselves, earning a 64-42 halftime lead.
- The C's pushed that 22-point halftime lead back to 29 by the end of the third quarter, after holding the Hawks to 4-19 shooting in the third period, while shooting 50 percent from the field (10-20) themselves.
- The fourth quarter was all garbage time, as the Celtics never allowed the Hawks back into this one. Atlanta never led in this one. Not once. Avery Bradley earned his first NBA regular season minutes and scored two points to go along with a rebound, an assist, and a steal.
- Nate Robinson (16 points, 10 assists), Kevin Garnett (17 points, 11 rebounds), and Shaquille O'Neal (13 points, 11 rebounds) all notched double-doubles for Boston. Shaq was incredibly effective in the first quarter, scoring six points, while grabbing five rebounds. Garnett went to work in the paint tonight, scoring on a number of jump hooks and short fading jumpers. He added a few of his customary perimeter jump shots for good measure. His offensive attack tonight was really balanced. He shot 8-10 from the field and added five assists...all in just 24 minutes.
- The ball movement was much better tonight than it was yesterday, as the C's dished out 26 assists on 40 baskets.
- Consider this the response to yesterday's letdown against the Toronto Raptors.