Recap: Celtics grit one out against the Hawks 106-93
Another rough shooting night for Boston couldn't stop them from grinding out a big early season win against the Atlanta Hawks. Tied at the half, the Celtics surged ahead with a 35 point third quarter and hung onto take this one 106-93.
The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas, who put up 23 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal for a team-best +22. Amir Johnson had his best game as a Celtic with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Jared Sullinger had another double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics did not shoot it well, only 40% from the field. But thanks to a 17-5 advantage on the offensive glass and only turning the ball over 10 times to the Hawks 16, the Celtics had an incredible 103-76 advantage in field goals attempted. The victory puts the Celtics at an even 4-4 in the young season, they head west to OKC for a 7PM start Sunday night.
Jae Crowder added 4 steals. He has 28 through 8 games. That's ridiculous.
Evan Turner missed his first 9 shots, but hit a big jumper in the fourth and followed it up with a three point play. Turner still has the trust of Brad Stevens, as he was the only reserve to tally over 20 minutes.
Kelly Olynyk had a nice shooting night for the Celtics, adding 15 points off the bench. He was 3-6 from deep in just 16:36 minutes of action.
The second half saw the Celtics get away from the three pointer a little bit and take the ball to the hoop. Isaiah had a few nice drives. A fast break with an Amir Johnson dunk was quickly followed up with another break that ended with a Crowder put back. Those two buckets gave the Celtics a 66-60 lead.
Amir Johnson got off to a great start, a blocked shot on D was quickly followed up by a trey and a trip to the line. A few minutes later he would have a second block get negated by a foul call that nearly put Tommy Heinsohn on the NEBH Injury Report.
Jared Sullinger is playing real real hard. He's all over the glass on both ends and constantly battling to keep possessions alive. Putting Sullinger on the outside of a 10 men intrasquad scrimmage might have been the best move Ainge/Stevens made this offseason.
Olynyk looks much better on the defensive end. Primarily because he just goes straight up now instead of slapping at the ball awkwardly. His defensive rating going into this game was a head scratchingly low 72.9 and I can't imagine he did much to hurt that rating tonight.
RJ Hunter splashed his only attempt from three. Crowder bricked his first two and airmailed a third. His first four field goals were two layups, a tip in and a put back. Hunter's upfake of a three pointer and wander into the paint led to a turnover. Conclusion: Hunter should shoot threes. Crowder should shoot layups. Let's stay in your lane everybody. Except for Crowder did hit a three and a mid-range jumper in the last two minutes that essentially iced this one. Still I stand by this theory. Hunter did not play in the second half.
Zeller reemerged in the second quarter. It started off with an ugly turnover. But an assist to Lee and a nice three point play tied the game up at 36. Of course his minutes in the second quarter came at the expense of Jared Sullinger who was 3-4 with 5 rebounds in the first and didn't reenter the game until there were less than 4 minutes to go. The five big man (six with Jerebko) rotation is still hard for Brad Stevens to pin down. Zeller did not play in the second half.
It was all tied up at 45 at the half. The Celtics shot a meager 34% (17-50) from the field, and 27% from 3 (5-18). The visitors shot 46% (19-41) from the floor but only 27% from deep (3-11) in the half.