Cold-shooting Celts fall to Hawks 114-98 despite Avery Bradley's return

The Boston Celtics could never seem to get their rhythm against the Atlanta Hawks Monday night.

Dennis Schroder had something of a revenge game, leading all scorers with 21 points on the same night Isaiah Thomas' streak of games with 20 or more points ended, with Thomas scoring 19 points and seven boards in the loss, also breaking a seven-game home winning streak for the Celts. Dwight Howard, who got himself ejected in the third quarter, added 17 points, as did Paul Milsap

The game was close in the first, with the Celts jumping out to an early lead until sloppy play by Boston allowed Atlanta to slowly chip away until they pulled even at 15 with five minutes remaining in the quarter. Neither team was able to get much separation in the first half, which was something of a miracle given how poorly Boston was shooting and rebounding. Avery Bradley, making his return after an extended absence, was a virtual non-factor on offense, though much of that was due to his minutes restriction.

The shooting woes continued for both teams early in the second half, until a Schroder layup broke the lead to a three-possession game at 68-60 with about five minutes left in the quarter. Things got heated shortly after, when Howard fouled Thomas hard on a play, followed with Howard pushing Al Horford after being fouled by him and drawing a technical foul a few plays later. Just moments after, Howard managed to get himself tossed by doing a chin-up after a dunk, just as the Hawks began to extend their lead.

Howard's ejection seemed to galvanize the Hawks, however, and they continued to extend their lead through the end of the third and into the fourth. There was no King in the Fourth tonight, and the Celtics seemed not to have their heart in the game as they moved into the final frame. A Tim Hardaway Jr. trey with about seven and half minutes left in the game seemed to put the game out of reach at 95-77, though Jaylen Brown finished off one of the few solid performances of the night for the club with a brief five-point run of his own (and 15 points on the night). After several turnovers and missed shots, the Celtics conceded, subbing James Young, Terry Rozier and Jonas Jerebko in for the remainder of the game.

The Hawks won the match 114-98, and the Celts next face the Cleveland Cavaliers at home this Wednasday, March 1st.

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Photo via AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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