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CelticsPod: comeback vs. Hawks indicative of Boston’s identity

The Celtics turned a 17-point deficit into a 14-point win on Tuesday night.

Atlanta Hawks Vs Boston Celtics At TD Garden Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Ho-hum. Just another Celtics win fueled by their defense and Jayson Tatum playing like an All-NBA candidate.

In the latest episode of CelticsPod, CelticsBlog’s Adam Taylor and Tim Sheils recapped Boston’s comeback win against the Hawks to kick off their three-game homestand.

Atlanta came into TD Garden with the best offense in the East and winners of twelve of their last seventeen games. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they ran into a buzzsaw in Boston. After scoring 61 points in the first half, they were held to thirty-three in the second half on 33.3% shooting and just 2-of-16 from behind the arc.

”I’ve been harping on about this for some time now, but it comes down to balance. The Hawks may be one of the best offensive teams in the NBA right now, but they’re also one of the worst defensive unit. I think they’re 25th in defensive rating,” Taylor said. “Sure, the Celtics don’t have balance either, as their offense has struggled all season, but I’d rather lean on defense than offense if I had no choice.”

After Jaylen Brown went down early in the first quarter, the Celtics leaned into their physicality and defensive identity to turn the tide. However, moving forward with Brown most likely out against the Grizzlies, Ime Udoka could look at adding more offense into the mix. Last night, Aaron Nesmith got the start in the second half, but it’s possible that, based on Brad Stevens’ recent front office moves and signings, we could see more shooting get playing time.

”Does Brad Stevens fear the ghost of Max Strus? I mean, he converted Sam Hauser into a full contract, then added Matt Ryan on a two-way deal - both shooting specialists. Maybe he never wanted Strus to get cut or he sees how successful the Heat have been in developing single-skill guys and thinks Udoka can do the same? But what’s the point of having these shooters if they’re just going to sit on the bench?, Taylor said. “Nesmith is having an identity crisis right now - and that’s fine, he’s going through what Grant Williams went through last season - plenty of time to find his footing. But, when you saw it was going to be another off night for Nesmith, why not throw Hauser an opportunity? It’s not like Nesmith is out here locking guys up on defense.”

Make sure to check out the rest of Adam Taylor’s YouTube page for all things Celtics and you can listen to the entire episode of CelticsPod below.