With a 109-106 win at home against the Atlanta Hawks (7-28), Boston continues to show the rest of the league that TD Garden is one of the NBA’s toughest venues for opposing teams to secure a win.
Whether it is a dominant performance by any player within the C’s starting five – or a complete team effort as was the case tonight – Boston usually finds a way to come out on top when playing on their home hardwood. Tonight, the win keeps Boston (24-8) second in the Eastern Conference, just five games behind the Milwaukee Bucks (31-5).
In 37 minutes of action, Gordon Hayward posted 18 points to go along with six boards in a total team effort, which featured six Celtics scoring in double figures in the victory.
While the Celtics ended up on top, the victory did not come easy, but Boston battled through some adversity after encountering an 18-point deficit in the first quarter.
After a slow start, Boston gained ground in the second quarter, reducing Atlanta’s lead to just two points heading into halftime. A strong second quarter, coupled with a solid second half, secured the win for Boston.
Jaylen Brown accounted for nine fourth-quarter points, and Marcus Smart, who recently made his return to the court, hit a three-ball in crunch time when the game hung in the balance. And Enes Kanter slammed one home in the closing moments of the game as well. But, despite all three of these critical fourth-quarter plays, it was a Daniel Theis block of Atlanta’s Trae Young by center Daniel Theis in the final seconds that sealed the game.
“I thought the best play of the fourth quarter was clearly Theis’ block,” Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “To have the wherewithal to take away the three-pointer when they had no timeouts in a two-point game was outstanding.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 4, 2020
Other notable takeaways that aided Boston’s effort Friday night include Kanter’s third double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) in his last five games.
Boston also dominated in the paint, securing a 54-42 advantage on the boards in the game and outscoring Atlanta 62-34 in the paint. Boston’s aggression paid off in other ways, too, as they made almost twice as many trips to the free-throw line (29) as Atlanta (15).
The C’s will be back at it on Saturday, January 4, to take on the Chicago Bulls (13-22) in the Windy City. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET and can be seen locally on NBC Sports Boston.