Nearly ten years after two bombs went off near the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon, their basketball team, the Boston Celtics, wore warm-up shirts that signified the moment and served as a remembrance of the solemn occasion. Saturday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks were merely a footnote as the Celtics took Game One of this first round series, winning 112-99 at the TD Garden.
The Boston Celtics ended the first half with a thirty point lead and their largest lead of the game was 32 points as they blitzed the Hawks as they made 56% of their three-point attempts. By comparison, the Hawks went one-of-sixteen from downtown.
“You know, regardless of what was going on in the game not seeing the ball going over a period of time is hard and taking it out of the net when they score is also hard,” said Hawks Head Coach Quin Snyder. “So you know it’s a series and obviously they played outstanding you know, particularly in the first half and got to get better.”
When asked what he’d say to his team after suffering in the first half, Snyder told his team to keep competing and that would give everyone a chance.
The Hawks’ inability to make three point shots this afternoon spelled trouble. Atlanta was 5-of-28 from three-point range during the game. Dejounte Murray scored 24 points in nearly 36 minutes of action. However, Young scored 16 points and was 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-5 from three point range in nearly 35 minutes of play.
Conversely, East Atlanta native Jaylen Brown led the C’s with 29 points, Derrick White scored 25 points and Jayson Tatum added 24 in the victory. Additionally, the Celtics out-rebounded the Hawks 58-45 as Boston dominated the painted area when the outcome of the game was still in doubt. In the first half, the Celtics out-rebounded the Hawks 32-18.
In search of positives, Atlanta did play hard in the second half. The Hawks outscored Boston 31-20 in the third quarter and 24-18 in the fourth. Also, Atlanta was able to force thirteen turnovers.
“Obviously, you know, they didn’t have a great first half, so they’re going to make a run,” explained Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzula. “And I just thought we lost our offensive purpose: playing passive offense instead of just keeping the ball moving and being aggressive and maintaining that level of pace that we had in the first half.”
Mazzula said he wasn’t concerned about the shaky second half because he believes there’s more lessons that can be learned from the victory.
“Obviously we can see a lot of things we can learn from,” said Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. “I’m sure the Hawks feel the same way. So it’s all about adjustments and learning from Game One and going to Game Two.”
Meanwhile, Snyder is proud of his team’s mental toughness and it could be built upon in Game Two.
“I said it before I mean you have to have the mental toughness that’s required to win a series in this league,” Snyder explained. “And, and we have to continue to demonstrate that and I thought we did tonight. I thought we were a tough team to be down like we were going to continue to play. That’s hard to do and that’s what we did.”
Jalen Johnson knocked knees with Al Horford in the third quarter, he went to the locker room to get evaluated and Snyder said he’ll be okay.
Tip-off of Game Two is Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. Games three and four will take place at State Farm Arena. Tip-off of those games are 7:00 PM on Friday night and Sunday night.