By Patrick Whalen
Ladies and gentleman the Celtics won a game they actually should, HALLELUJAH! The Celtics went out and dominated the Atlanta Hawks and won by a score of 114-96. Before the game, the Celtics were hit with some injury news as they announced Al Horford would sit out tonight with knee soreness. This couldn’t have come at a worse time after a loss to the Knicks but the Celtics came out firing and handled their business in Atlanta despite Horford being out. Despite Al sitting out the Celtics would sit with Hayward coming off the bench and go with a starting line up of Kyrie, Jaylen, Jayson, Marcus Morris, and Baynes.
The Celtics defense stymied the Hawks holding them to 43% shooting and 17% from three. The defense also kept rookie sensation Trae Young in check with only 5 points and 2 assists. The Celtics also torched the Atlanta starters as 3 of the 5 had a plus-minus of -24 or worse (Basketball-Reference.com). The Celtics could have won this game by more if they wanted but Brad Stevens put the reserves in for the fourth quarter.
The Celtics also did something they rarely do… get off to a fast start! 45 points in the first quarter pushing the Celtics to an early 22 point lead. The Celtics offense was lead by Aron Baynes, yes the big ginger Aussie, as he had his best game as a starter this year with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Tatum, Jaylen, and Kyrie were all also in double figures. Hayward and Rozier also joined the double figures club off the bench which made up for Marcus Morris’ struggles in his first start of the year as he shot 3-10 from the field including 2-7 from three for just 8 points. With Al being out tonight we also got to see more of Semi Ojeleye and he had a decent night with 8 points and 5 rebounds off the bench (Basketball-Reference.com). The highlight reel in the dominating win was lead by one Jayson Tatum with this putback slam.
The Celtics three-point shooting was still lacking only shooting 33% and the second unit defense lacked as 4 Hawks bench players went for double figures including Jeremy Lin who had 19 points and 10 assists (Basketball-Reference.com). Other than these concerns this was a good win for the Celtics to get back on track. This was a game they needed to win and they went out and handled their business. Now if the Celtics can get Horford back for the next game in Dallas and have another win to build on this could be the start of a run the Celtics need to get out of this mediocre rut to start the season.
Also for all, you rap fans after the game Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff of the Migos and Cardi B was seen taking pictures with Kyrie post-game as they were sitting courtside. Kyrie also gave Quavo a pair of his game-worn Kyrie 5s.