Entering Tuesday night’s Game Two of their first round series against the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks sought to keep Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in check. The Hawks ultimately had a 12-point lead at halftime. But, they weren’t able to hold the line as the Celtics cruised to a 119-106 victory at TD Garden and took a 2-0 series lead.
Derrick White had 26 points and seven rebounds. The aforementioned Tatum finished with 29 points and ten rebounds while Brown added 18 points in more than 35 minutes of play.
“We can play small, we can play big,” White said. “I think we just got to focus on what we need to do while we’re out there. We feel comfortable with understanding what they’re trying to do, and it takes five guys. They’re rebounding, battling, doing what we need to do to win games.”
Boston outscored Atlanta 64-40 in the paint even though they went with a smaller lineup.
For Atlanta, Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 29 points, six rebounds and six assists. Trae Young chipped in with 24 points and six assists.
“Trae Young will be one of the first ones watching tape on the plane, trying to figure out ways he can play better,” Hawks head Coach Quin Snyder said. “I think we will have a lot of guys going to do that– and certainly I will too.”
Atlanta outrebounded the Celtics 49-44 and shot 33% from beyond the three-point line.
“They won, we lost. We got to be better,” Trae Young said.
The Celtics raced to a twenty-point lead in the third quarter and the Hawks were able to get within single digits.
While the Hawks apparently can’t solve the puzzle that is the constant switching that the Celtics do defensively, what’s becoming clear is that White has emerged as the third scorer in their offense.
“He’s like, too good of a guy,” Tatum said of White. “But you know these last few games, he’s been aggressive making the right play. Not necessarily waiting just makes us that much better of a team. They got so many guys, so many weapons offensively. And we can play the right way and be ourselves at the same time and beat a really good team.”
Game Three will emanate from State Farm Arena on Friday night at 7:00 PM.
“Yeah, we know we were supposed to hold home court,” White added. “And now we get to the real challenge of the playoffs, which is winning on the road. So I know they’re gonna play better at home and we’re going to step up our level of play.”