The Boston Celtics held a 25-point lead heading into the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at TD Garden.
And while the Celtics didn’t blow the game, earning a 121-109 win, that lead was cut to merely nine points with 3:40 left. It certainly wasn’t a resounding ending to a contest the Celtics dominated during the first half, and maintained in the third quarter.
Celtics big man Tristan Thompson, for one, wasn’t all too thrilled with how it played out. And Thompson had a message for the team after the game.
“So, for me, like I said to the guys tonight — it’s a good win, but we’re up 20, 22 points we got to close it out,” Thompson told reporters after the game. “Those minutes, the last six minutes, those minutes are supposed to be dedicated to Tremont Waters, Aaron (Nesmith), Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards. Those last six minutes are supposed to be for those young guys.
“It’s our bad and it’s selfish on our part with the first and second unit that we didn’t stomp on their (Hawks) necks and let them bleed out to death because those guys deserve to go out there and get some minutes,” Thompson continued. “They come in every day and they work hard and they watch us and support us from the bench. It’s only right that when we’re up like that we take care of business so they go out there and play and we cheer them on.”
Thompson played a valuable role in Friday’s win over the Hawks as he and Daniel Theis controlled the paint with their high-low connection.
Thompson, who is playing his first year in Boston, finished with 17 points on 8-for-9 from the field. He added five rebounds, three assists and one block, as well.