If you actually give it some thought, the Boston Celtics had no enterprise successful tonight’s game in Atlanta. For one, they have been taking part in with out Marcus Smart (ankle), Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring), and Robert Williams III, who has but to play this season due to the surgical procedure he had on his left knee within the offseason. In addition to their dwindling depth, the Hawks match up extremely properly with the Celtics, particularly the best way they have been taking part in to date this season. Atlanta is off to its greatest 14-game begin since 2016-17 (additionally 9-5, though they began 9-2); the Hawks at present personal the league’s Tenth-best protection, one that appears born to counter Boston’s top-ranked offense.
What’s extra? Trae Young and Dejounte Murray’s mouths have been in all probability watering pregame when Smart and Brogdon’s absences have been introduced. Clint Capela has returned to his Houston type, as he is averaging 16.5 factors and 16 rebounds per game over his final 4, and with none dependable measurement past Al Horford, Capela was primed to feast. Justin Jackson and Blake Griffin have been set to see minutes for the Celtics. To write it off as a win for the Hawks would not have been the worst wager to place.
It did not matter. Not a lick of it. The Celtics have been dominant, successful their eighth-straight game, 126-101. Boston improves to 12-3 and nonetheless has the league’s greatest document. Better but, they far and away look to be the league’s greatest crew.
The Celtics jumped out to a 30-18 lead within the first quarter, however not as a result of the same old suspects led the best way in scoring. Instead, Boston pulled forward as a result of everybody within the rotation, irrespective of their standing, contributed in quite a lot of methods. Jayson Tatum, regardless of capturing simply one-for-seven from the sphere within the opening body, racked up six assists and a handful of rebounds. Derrick White was a pressure on the rim — *raises eyebrows* — and stuffed the stat sheet from the opening tip. Luke Kornet had three blocks; Sam Hauser caught hearth. It felt just like the Celtics performed an entire game inside the span of simply 12 minutes.
The Hawks labored their means again into the game within the second behind environment friendly shot-making by Murray — 19 factors within the game — however not by a lot. Boston maintained a double-digit lead via many of the second quarter, and though the Hawks made their means inside seven, their “comeback” felt prefer it was extra so due to missed photographs and unforced errors on the Celtics’ half than it was due to Atlanta’s efficiency on both finish. Grant Williams, Derrick White, Sam Hauser, and Payton Pritchard mixed to rating 36 of Boston’s 62 factors at halftime; Pritchard drained a deep three to push Boston’s lead to 62-53. It by no means felt all that shut.
The identical went for the third, throughout which the Celtics pushed forward, 97-78, and once more within the fourth, when their lead stretched to a most of 27 factors they usually put the Hawks away with ease. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 22, however six different Celtics — Jayson Tatum (19), Grant Williams (18), Derrick White (16), Sam Hauser (15), Luke Kornet (!!!) (15), and Payton Pritchard (14) — completed in double figures,
The Eastern Conference is remarkably aggressive this season — the Celtics sit on the high, whereas the Hawks are at present in third — but when tonight’s walloping proved something, it is that the Celtics are miles forward of the competitors, even once they’re not at full energy. Three of Boston’s 5 greatest gamers have been lacking in motion due to damage, but the Celtics put collectively their most full effort of the season and thrashed Atlanta in a means it hadn’t been all season. Tatum and Brown did not have to go nuclear for Boston to stroll away winners in Atlanta, but it did regardless, and simply. Make that eight straight for the NBA’s greatest crew; they’re displaying no indicators of slowing down.
Next up for the Celtics: They head to New Orleans on Friday, and stay on the street till subsequent Monday.