With Jrue Holiday still sidelined with a right ankle sprain, the Celtics elected to give Dalano Banton the nod with the starting group.
Boston started the game getting the ball in the paint. The game opened with an Al Horford basket underneath the hoop. Not too long afterward, Jaylen Brown got an easy basket off of a backdoor cut to give the C’s an early 12-4 lead.
After a strong start however, just like in the Magic game, Boston started to miss layups which led the Hawks to convert the misses into points as Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter hit back-to-back threes to force an early Boston timeout with 7:09 left in the opening quarter.
The C’s went on a 14-4 run towards the end of the quarter to make it 33-21 with just under two minutes left in the quarter. The run was fueled by back-to-back Kornet baskets and Jayson Tatum who started to get his offense going. Tatum scored 10 points but provided four assists in the opening frame.
However, the Hawks responded by ending the quarter on a 5-0 run to make it 33-26 heading into the second. Trae Young scored 13 in the quarter on 5/7 shooting.
Atlanta showed how they are one of the better scoring teams in the league in recent weeks as the 5-0 run to end the first continued into the second with an 11-2 run with Bogdan Bogdanovic finding his groove offensively.
The run forced Joe Mazzulla to call an early timeout with 10 minutes left.
Then it was the Jayson Tatum Show. Tatum scored back-to-back three-pointers and gave Boston life to get the lead back to eight with 8:03 left. Then after a Derrick White and-1, Tatum got the ball and got into his bag finishing the right-handed finger roll to force a Hawks timeout with 7:14 remaining with Boston leading 48-36.
Jayson Tatum caps off an 11-2 run for the Celtics with the pretty finish. He has 18 points already, Celtics lead by 12. pic.twitter.com/aXExKlI5lB— Noa Dalzell (@NoaDalzellNBA) November 26, 2023
With Young keeping the Hawks in it, Jaylen Brown brought the house down with a poster slam on Clint Capela.
Boston carried the energy generated from the dunk to close the half on top 69-53. Boston moved the ball around going into the break with 15 assists on 26 made baskets.
Tatum led all scorers in the half with 21 points. White and Brown contributed with 13 apiece. Neemias Queta got a seven-minute cameo in the first half grabbing six rebounds and scoring five points.
Trae Young continues to be on fire in recent weeks. Young accounted for 20 points and six assists at the half.
Both teams started the half exchanging punches, but the Celtics extended its lead to 20 (78-58) leading to a Hawks timeout with 7:46 left.
Although the Celtics were playing well offensively in the quarter, the Hawks continued to stay in the game thanks to a 13-0 run with under four minutes to go to cut the lead to six (83-77).
Queta ended the run with a soft finish inside the paint after a timeout. On the next possession, Sam Hauser hit a corner three to get the lead back to double digits 88-77 with 2:43 left in the quarter.
The 5-0 run was quickly silenced by Bogdanovic who made his first eight shots of the game scoring 23 points.
Queta made the most of his minutes grabbing offensive rebounds and providing the Celtics (and the fans) energy.
Atlanta cut the 16-point halftime deficit to eight going into the fourth quarter 90-82.
Sam Hauser continued his hot hand into the fourth, burying the first shot of the quarter with a step-back three.
The Hawks continued to hurt the Celtics who are playing drop-defense with Queta on the floor and giving Trae an open shot every time he comes off of a screen. Young had 10 points in the first four minutes of the fourth.
When Queta got subbed out, the C’s went back to their switching defense which they benefited from on the first possession forcing a miss. Then on Atlanta’s next possession, Tatum stole the ball which led to a very sloppy but successful fast-break dunk for Banton to force a timeout (105-94) with 6:56 left.
Tatum steals the ball from Bogdan up top, loses it, Horford grabs it, hits Tatum, loses it again, Hauser recovers and taps the ball to Banton for a dunk— Bobby Manning (@RealBobManning) November 27, 2023
Pair of heads-up plays in what's been a dominant night for the #Celtics in tracking down loose balls. 50-36 rebound advantage
After the timeout, the Hauser show continued with a corner three to extend Boston’s lead to 14.
Hauser might have the sweetest net splash, as well as the highest spash rate, in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/vpgmDhNw2b— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) November 27, 2023
For all the trouble the Hawks offense gave Boston, Dejounte Murray didn’t make his first field goal until 4:48 left in the fourth quarter. It was Young and Bogdanovic keeping the Hawks within striking distance.
With a 10-point game with two minutes left, both teams went cold offensively. A great pass from White to a cutting Tatum all but sealed the game for Boston.
Atlanta was the #2 offense coming in and the Celtics held them to 103 points.
Rebounding was going to be critical, and Boston’s big men pulled their weight. Al Horford hauled in a season-high 15 rebounds, while Queta finished with 10 (6 offensive).
Tatum led the Celtics with 34 points with Brown chipping in with 21.
Boston’s next game is on Tuesday when they host the Chicago Bulls for an In-Season Tournament game. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.