The Celtics came away with a 129-121 win to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series, and Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla certainly was pleased with the effort, but knew the job wasn’t finished yet when he spoke to his team.
“Great attention to detail. Great physicality the entire game,” Mazzulla said. “Regardless of how good we are, we have to keep that edge no matter who we’re playing. So, that’s a great (expletive) road win. We cannot relax. We got to stay the hungrier team knowing they’re coming for one last punch. Everybody, we all made big-time plays.”
Mazzulla then made it a point to quickly mention two players who turned in strong performances in the bounce-back win after the Celtics lost Game 3.
“Rob, welcome back. Great play,” Mazzulla said. “Al, plus-17, only took two shots the entire game.”
Williams certainly had an impactful showing off the bench, posting a double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds to go along with three assists, two steals and two blocks. Horford, as Mazzulla touched upon, made his presence felt as well without ever putting the basketball in the bucket. He totaled 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals and finished with the best plus-minus rating for any player on either team.
The Celtics will look to heed Mazzulla’s advice and close out the Hawks, who will be without star guard Dejounte Murray, with their opportunity to do so in Game 5 on Tuesday. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.