After taking management for many of the sport, the Celtics actually didn’t make issues simple for themselves late on Saturday night time in Atlanta.
Boston’s worst habits that began its post-break slide got here into view. Their double-digit lead was sliced all the way down to an uncomfortable margin, and their incapability to maintain opponents off the offensive glass continued. Then, Marcus Smart was inexplicably ejected with lower than 90 seconds to go after a skirmish with Trae Young.
But not like their pitfalls from their three-game skid earlier this month, the Celtics by no means cratered or succumbed to their late-game struggles. It wasn’t almost good, however the C’s had sufficient solutions down the stretch to carry off the Hawks for a 134-125 victory to kick off their six-game highway journey.
Jayson Tatum had one other particular night time with 34 factors, 15 rebounds and 6 assists, and Jaylen Brown scored 24 factors to guide six Celtics in double-figure scoring. Young had 35 factors and 13 assists to guide the Hawks, who could possibly be a possible first-round playoff opponent subsequent month.
Given the fireworks late on Saturday, that could possibly be an entertaining sequence.
The Celtics led by eight with 1:25 left when the altercation between Smart and Young occurred. Young appeared to have a three-point play after driving by Smart, however appeared to inadvertently kick the Celtics guard within the groin whereas taking the shot. But Smart took situation with Young, seemingly considering the Hawks guard kicked him on objective.
Smart approached Young and the 2 went face-to-face earlier than each crashing to the ground. After an extended video evaluation, the 2 guards have been assessed double technical fouls however Smart was ejected.
In an interview with a pool reporter after the sport, crew chief Sean Wright mentioned Smart “was ejected for the grab and take down of Trae Young.” Wright mentioned Young acquired a technical foul for getting up and pointing his finger in Smart’s face however that his actions didn’t rise to the extent of an ejection.
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla instructed reporters in Atlanta that he hadn’t seen a full replay of what led to Smart’s ejection, however he wasn’t annoyed that some composure had been misplaced after the C’s held their poise effectively within the face of Atlanta’s close to comeback.
“It’s part of it,” Mazzulla mentioned. “You have to navigate in the chaos.”
Young’s shot earlier than the skirmish didn’t depend however he made two free throws to chop the Celtics’ result in six. After Tatum missed a 3-pointer, the Hawks had a number of possibilities to make it a one-possession sport. But after they grabbed two offensive rebounds, Al Horford blocked John Collins’ layup, after which Tatum discovered Malcolm Brogdon for a breakaway layup that sealed the win.
“We get some adversity there. Not ideal,” Horford instructed reporters of Smart’s ejection. “But as a group, we have to regroup. We have to get it together and we have to move on. We can’t have him be in those positions and do that. It puts us in a tough place. But it doesn’t matter what it is, we have to be able to keep it moving. And we did that tonight.”
The Celtics have been as soon as once more dominated on the offensive glass. The Hawks got here down with 13 offensive rebounds, which led to twenty second-chance factors and ignited their comeback effort. But the C’s didn’t let that have an effect on them on the offensive finish, the place that they had certainly one of their only nights because the early portion of the season.
The final time Boston visited Atlanta, in November, the C’s have been within the midst of their sizzling begin to the season that was fueled by a dominant offense. Saturday, they issued a reminder of how potent they are often even when it’s cooled off recently. The Celtics completed with 35 assists, tied for his or her second-highest mark of the season.
Like that assembly in November, Saturday was a numbers sport. The Celtics (52-for-95) and Hawks (50-for-100) shot equally from the sector, however Boston once more had the superior edge in 3-point capturing. They went 20-for-42 from deep as they constantly acquired nice appears, whereas the Hawks completed 10-for-34 from lengthy vary.
After a sizzling offensive begin for each groups that featured 14 lead modifications, the Celtics gained separation within the second quarter with an 18-2 run. They led by as many as 16 within the interval, and so they rode that cushion for the remainder of the night time.
“Our shot selection and turnovers managed the entire game,” Mazzulla instructed reporters. “We kept them out of transition, we kept them off the free-throw line and we were able to get a great shot every single time down and that’s a testament to our guys’ organization and execution. That’s when we’re at our best and we have to continue that, and then we have to clean up the rebounding piece.”
The Celtics earned large contributions from their second unit, which continued to characteristic Blake Griffin as an alternative of Grant Williams, who didn’t play for a second time this month and continued to fall out of the rotation. But Griffin proved deserving of his spot together with his typical hustle performs. He had three offensive rebounds, drew a cost and made a number of defensive performs, together with an enormous block to finish the third quarter that fired up his teammates, as he helped the Celtics preserve their benefit.
The C’s have responded effectively since their three-game shedding streak and Saturday included a number of encouraging indicators. They ended quarters effectively – which has been an emphasis from Mazzulla – and so they didn’t succumb to adversity, which they’ve struggled with.
“Staying a little more poised and continuing to execute and continuing to play through,” Horford mentioned. “We went through a little obviously, some games that we gave games away and we lost our composure a little bit. I feel like the last couple, we’ve been very conscious of taking advantage of possessions and, good or bad, moving on. I feel like we did that again tonight.”