This postgame recap was written by Alex Kungu.
There’s plenty of times when a team’s biggest opponent is themselves, and tonight was it for the Celtics. After going up by as much as 24 in the first, the team completely lost its mojo in the second quarter and allowed their lead to shrink to as small as four before Kyrie & Hayward hit some timely baskets to push the lead to double-digits. The scare was short-lived. Irving, Morris, Tatum, and Hayward brought their A games, but it was Williams who stole the show in the third with some highlight blocks that infused some life on the bench and in the arena. Overall, it was a good night. The Celtics were able to push their win streak to 8-games and got to allow their rotation guys to rest for the entire 4th quarter. So here’s how it all went down.
The Celtics struck first, getting out to a 20-2 run behind some crisp ball movement and fantastic defensive effort from Kyrie who stole an inbound pass and hit a three.
Kyrie Irving is BACK in his BAG pic.twitter.com/8UWytfVUou— VERSACEBOYENT (@VersaceBoyEnt2) December 15, 2018
The team came out with great pace, led by Kyrie who had 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 9 minutes of first quarter action. He set the tone and the rest of the team followed. The team collectively sprayed the ball all over the court combing for 10 assists in their first 16 makes and racing out to a 42-19 lead to end the frame.
Theis finishes the Hayward lob! pic.twitter.com/BGnpSX2hfZ— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 15, 2018
The Hawks were able to get as close as (9) in the second quarter behind some strong Hawks shooting and some really questionable decision-making on the offensive side of ball led by Jaylen Brown who struggled make quick decision with the basketball. The Hawks run got all the way up to 19-0 before Hayward finally broke the spell with an elbow jumper. Despite losing most of their 24-point lead, Stevens refused to call a timeout, a message to his veteran team to get things together on their own. Luckily, the team responded by pushing the lead back up to 10 points after the Hawks sliced the deficit to four. Overall, the Celtics were able to take in a 11-point lead into halftime and they got a 28 point, 3 rebounds, and 7 assist half from Hayward.
Halftime: Boston 67, Atlanta 56 pic.twitter.com/G6ASa5Pety— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) December 15, 2018
The Celtics immediately pushed the lead back up to 21 points behind back to back three-pointers from Kyrie Irving. Marcus Morris got into the festivities too, hitting his 5th and 6th three. The Celtics were able to extend their lead back up to 23 by the time Hayward and the second unit were ready to check-in.
I don’t really remember anything else from the third except Rob “Timelord” Williams lll playing volleyball with any Hawk attempts at the rim.
Tatum also finished the third with 16 points as the Celtics finished off the third with a 108-82 lead.
Boston was able to close this one out comfortably down the stretch with Rozier and Brown playing the whole 4th and we got another extended Brad Wanamaker stretch. The deep reserves really couldn’t put the ball in the basket which slowed down the game but they didn’t allow it to get dangerous enough for the team to have to turn to its main rotation guys which is really their only objective. Overall, it was another Gino time affair for the kids in green.
The Celtics will be back in action tomorrow night against Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons. The team has won the first two matchups, but they may have to do this one without Al Horford.