Terry Rozier is fitting in quite nicely in the Boston Celtics’ starting lineup.
The point guard dropped a career-high 31 points in his second career start as the Celtics used a solid third quarter to drop the Atlanta Hawks 119-110 Friday night at TD Garden.
Boston, who now has won three straight and four of its last five games, played with a 10-man roster due to a slew of injuries, but each player found a way to contribute. All five starters tallied double figures, including Jayson Tatum, who dropped a career-high 27 points. Taurean Prince (31) and Dennis Schroder (25) paced the Hawks.
The Celtics climb to 38-15 with the win, while the Hawks fall to 15-37.
Here’s how it all went down:
OUT OF THE LINEUP
Kyrie Irving (quad), Shane Larkin (knee), Marcus Morris (hip) and Marcus Smart (hand) did not play against Atlanta.
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
BATTLE OF THE POINT GUARDS
Rozier got off to yet another hot start as he started for the second consecutive game, scoring six of his nine points first-quarter points in the first half of the frame.
Boston quickly got ahead of the Hawks in the first four and a half minutes, but Atlanta went on a surging 14-0 run over 1:41 to take a 21-14 lead with under five minutes to play. During that stretch, Schroder quickly heated up, dropping half of the points scored during the run.
The remainder of the quarter was spent with each side trading opportunities on the offensive end. Atlanta finished the quarter up 32-26 thanks to Schroder and Marco Belinelli each contributing nine points.
C’S CUT DEFICIT
After going back and forth for most of the second, the Celtics finally pulled within a pair after the Hawks had kept them at arm’s reach. Boston entered the break down just 55-53 after putting together an 8-2 run during the final three minutes.
Rozier continued to pace the Celtics, leading the team in both points (14) and rebounds (5) after 24 minutes. Tatum also put together 12 points in the half on 6-for-11 shooting.
Boston, however, still struggled to contain Schroder, who dropped 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting.
CELTICS TAKE LEAD AND BUILD ON IT
Just under two minutes into the third quarter, the Celtics reclaimed the lead for the first time since the 5:30 mark in the first quarter. They then took their biggest lead of the game (eight) to that point with just under six minutes to go in the third, and proceeded to spend the rest of the quarter widening the gap.
The Celtics closed out the quarter with a 94-75 advantage, stringing together one quality possession after another as they outscored Atlanta 41-20. Rozier broke his career high in points during the third, dropping his 24th (and subsequently, 25th) point of the game on free-throw attempts with 70 seconds left in the quarter.
Certainly related to their success in the third, the C’s were equally productive on the defensive end in terms of quieting Schroder, holding him to four points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field.
CRUISE TO THE FINISH
With the lead firmly set, the Celtics let the Hawks scratch back into the game and pull within as close as 10 points.
But that was as close as Boston let them get the rest of the way until the final seconds, building back some extra space between themselves and the Hawks to cruise comfortably to the finish.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Tatum finishing with some authority.
The Celtics will stay at home for a Super Bowl Sunday matinee against the Portland Trail Blazers. Tip from TD Garden is set for 12 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images