Whatever momentum was taken from that win didn’t last long. Boston’s defense let the Hawks shoot 57.1 percent on the night, and the result was a 122-114 defeat to a team that came into this one losers of four straight.
Boston held a slim two-point lead after the opening quarter. The crisp ball movement on display in last night’s win over Denver carried over early into this game as the Celtics dished out seven assists through the first 12 minutes without their starting point guard, as Kemba Walker sat in the second game of a back-to-back. All nine Celtics to see the court put points on the board, led by Jayson Tatum’s seven.
Tatum continued his scoring in the second quarter, where he put up 12 points to enter halftime 19 after scoring just 21 against the Nuggets. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to help Boston maintain its lead. Led by Trae Young’s 15 points, four Hawks finished the first half in double figures and Atlanta held a six-point lead.
Atlanta held strong through the third quarter as Young continued to put up points with nine in the frame. The Hawks as a whole shot 57 percent from the field in the third while Boston was only 8-of-20 (40 percent) to enter the final frame down nine.
The Celtics watched as their deficit stretched to double-digits in the fourth. There was no stopping Young in the entirety of the game, but the All-Star guard torched Boston’s defense to close out a win by draining six of his seven shots in the fourth quarter for 16 points. He finished with 40 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field. Clint Capela was 10-of-13 for 24 points.
Tatum led the Celtics 35 points while chipping in six rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Jaylen Brown struggled with his shot — 6-of-20 from the field — en route to 22 points but contributed elsewhere with seven assists.
Boston won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption. The two teams will face off at TD Garden once again on Friday.