Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks; Atlanta Wins 89-72 After Dominant 1st Quarter
After a Game 1 that trickled down to the final seconds, ending in a 102-101 victory for the Hawks, Atlanta came out hot for Game 2 of the Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks 7-game series.
Although the final three quarters of the game were extremely close between the two teams, the Hawks still managed to pull away with a 17-point victory. How could this be? Well, this was a game that was decided after the end of the first quarter.
The Hawks came out ready to play right from the start, holding the Boston Celtics to the lowest first quarter point total in NBA Playoff history. At the end of the first buzzer, the score was 24-7 in Atlanta’s favor. Up by 17 headed into the second quarter, the rest of the game was a back-and-forth match.
For the final three quarters, the two teams scored the same amount of points. The Celtics outscored the Hawks by 2 in the second quarter, which was followed by an 18-point third quarter from both teams. In the final quarter, the Hawks outscored the Celtics 28-26 as they sealed the victory to take a 2-0 series lead.
Most of the Celtics’ struggle can be blamed on their injury list, which featured two key players on the team. In Game 1, Avery Bradley left due to a “badly strained hamstring” and is listed as unlikely to make a return this series. In addition to Bradley, their backup big man, Kelly Olynyk, was ruled out after today’s shootaround due to a shoulder injury.
Game 2 Statistics
Although the Hawks got off to a great start, hitting 9 of their first 13 shots and 6 shots from behind the three point line, the rest of the game wasn’t as positive. If the Celtics hadn’t been so cold from the floor, hitting 3 of 23 from the field in the first quarter, then this game would’ve been as close as Game 1 was. Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Tyler Zeller combined for 1-15 shooting in the first.
Leading the way for the Hawks were Kyle Korver, who finished the game with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals, and Al Horford, who also had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks. Jeff Teague helped with 13 points and 6 assists. Off the bench, Thabo Sefolosha hit 4-of-5 from the field, chipping in 12 points and 6 rebounds.
For the Celtics, only 4 players saw double-digit points, none of them going over 16. Isaiah Thomas led the way with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, while Amir Johnson scored 14 points and pulled in 8 rebounds. Evan Turner chipped in with 12 points and Terry Rozier scored 10 points.
If either team want to secure a series victory, they will have to step it up. Turnovers were a major concern for both teams. The Celtics forfeited the ball 14 times, while the Hawks did 15 times. Additionally, no player on either team posted a double-double in this game, which is rare.
Game 3 of the series will be held in Boston on Friday, where the Celtics hope to avoid a 3-0 series deficit to the Hawks.
(Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks)