The Boston Celtics have played many thrilling, important games this season.
Sunday’s tilt at TD Garden was not one of those games.
Boston led for much of the game against the Atlanta Hawks, but an ugly fourth quarter resulted in the Hawks leaving Boston with a 112-106 win in a game that meant absolutely nothing in the Eastern Conference standings. Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives to pull out of the team’s performance, particularly in the scoring contributions from across the roster.
Jayston Tatum led the way with 19 points, followed by Greg Monroe and Al Horford, who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively. Rookie Semi Ojeleye also had a good game, scoring a career-high 13 points in the loss.
The Celtics dropped to 54-26 with the loss, while the Hawks improved to 24-57.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
After getting an day of rest in Friday’s win over the Chicago Bulls, Tatum stepped back into the lineup and had noticeable jump in his step. The rookie notched seven points in the first quarter to go along with two assists and two rebounds.
Boston finished the quarter with a 31-24 lead over Atlanta.
The second quarter was all about Horford.
The C’s forward racked up nine points, four rebounds and one assist in the frame, once again showcasing his all-around abilities.
The second quarter also was marked by the play of rookie guard Jabari Bird, who had six points and four rebounds. Playing for a spot on the postseason roster, Bird continued to display his impressive athleticism.
Losing Kyrie Irving obviously is an enormous blow for the Celtics. However, it’s allowed a player like Bird to prove he belongs in the NBA.
Boston entered halftime with a 58-49 lead.
HAWKS SHOW FIGHT
Atlanta refused to lay down in this game, showing considerable spunk in the third quarter.
Taurean Prince often was the best player on the floor for either team, scoring a game-high 33 points in the win for Atlanta. The 24-year-old’s 10 points were key in the Hawks’ third-quarter surge.
Extremely underrated player.
Tatum did his best to keep the Hawks from gaining too much momentum, though.
Boston ended the third quarter with an 82-76 lead.
UGLY FOURTH, UGLY LOSS
If you let a team hang around long enough, it might come back to bite you.
The Celtics held a lead for much of the fourth quarter, but Atlanta tied the score at 104 with under two minutes to go. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens elected to play mostly bench players down the stretch and Atlanta took advantage, making a pair of key buckets in the final minute to ice the win.
Here was the dagger:
PLAY OF THE GAME
The Celtics will travel to Washington to play the Wizards in the penultimate game of the regular season. Tip from Capital One Arena is scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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