The Boston Celtics started the game very well in Atlanta, with a good spread of ball movement and scoring. Right from the opening tip the ball was moving well as Tatum, Baynes, and Irving all hit their first three pointers of the game. Tatum and Irving made Atlanta pay defensively with crisp and decisive execution off screens to open a 20 point lead early. Marcus Morris who started in place of Horford tonight caught fire late in the quarter to help extend the lead 45-23.
Late in the quarter Marcus Smart went full blown Cobra on Jeremy Lin.
As Gordon Hayward adjusts to the life with the bench unit, he was involved in quite a few nice plays and his shooting form looked as good as we’ve seen from him rhythm-wise. Brad Stevens talked about toughness after the last few losses and opened up the 2nd quarter with Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye, which formed a nice backbone for that style of play, as the Celtics paced the Hawks early the 2nd quarter. As far as encouraging signs go, Marcus Smart alongside Gordon Hayward are starting to develop a nice on-court chemistry and provide a good combination of passing and court vision.
However as soon as the starters returned to the game after a lengthy break, Atlanta went on a 13-3 run to end the second quarter. The way this team can go absent and vacant is troubling as the Hawks put pressure on the Celtics lead and cut it to 61-45 at halftime.
Opening up the third quarter though, it was all Celtics as they capitalised on several breakdowns by the Hawks and opened up with 3 different layup / dunks to start the second half. Jayson Tatum had a strong quarter with a step back three and reeled of 7 quick points, he also had this sweet put back jam:
Again, Celtics took the foot off the pedal in the 3rd, and allowed the Hawks to creep the lead back down to 15. Baynes picked up his 4th foul and Theis had 3 fouls thus Brad Stevens ushered in the Timelord!!!!
The Celtics finally stretched the lead spearheaded by the bench unit of Semi, Hayward, Theis, Rozier and Smart. The unassailable amount eventually stretched to a 20 plus deficit, and in what seems like the first time in an eternity, Brad Stevens was finally able to bring third stringers Geurchon Yabusele and Brad Wanamaker into the game whilst giving the starters extended rest.
The C’s now move to 10-9 on the season and head to Dallas tomorrow night to face the Mavericks.