The Celtics got off to yet another slow start tonight against the Hawks, allowing Atlanta to make good on their first six field goal attempts before putting in one of their own.
Things admittedly looked real bleak for Boston out of the gate, but just when you started thinking that maybe it wasn't their night, Rajon Rondo took over. The Celtics point guard spearheaded a 17-4 run that spanned over the last four minutes of the period, ultimately finishing the quarter with 11 points on 4/6 shooting from the floor. Had it not been for Rondo the two-point deficit the Celtics faced heading into the second would have been much, much larger as the Hawks had opened up a lead as big as 15 during the opening period.
With Rondo on the bench to begin the second, Jerryd Bayless, who got his first start as a member of the Celtics tonight, picked up the scoring slack and led the Celtics to their first lead, 31-29, around the 10:30 mark. From there, the two sides exchanged buckets for most of the quarter before Jeff Green ignited his team with a reverse slam on the baseline and another reverse jam that he threw down off a Rondo lob pass. Unfortunately, Demarre Carroll got hot for Atlanta and wound up going into the locker room with a game-high 17 points. Boston 58 - Atlanta 56.
The third quarter was rather uneventful. In fact, the best way I could probably describe it would be to say that Bayless and Jeff Teague scored a lot of points. Other than that, the third was your pretty basic run of the mill quarter of NBA basketball.
The fourth was a little bit better, though. Well, if you’re a fan of Boston’s, that is.The Celtics held onto their lead for the entire period thanks in no small part to Bayless’ continued hot streak (29 points; 5/9 3FG). They also maintained their dominance on both the offensive and defensive boards, ending the night with a plus-16 advantage in total rebounds. Overall, the Celtics put together a pretty nice game despite starting off so slow. They had six different guys who scored in double figures, owned the glass, and did their best to limit turnovers through the final three quarters. Of course, both squads were severely undermanned but, as they say, a win is a win.