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Player Grades for Big Win Over Hawks, 114-96

The Boston Celtics got back on the winning track after a disastrous loss to fall to .500, defeating the Atlanta Hawks, 114-96, Friday night.

The Boston Celtics rode the wave of of a 45-point first quarter all the way to an xx-xx win over the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena Friday night.

The Hawks are a young and inexperienced team, led by rookie point guard Trae Young, and the Celtics took advantage of their uninspired defense for the best offensive quarter of the season, nailing 8-of-12 three-pointers and building a 20-point lead.

Kyrie Irving taught Trae Young a lesson in pick-and-roll play, scoring 8 points in the first quarter and 13 points in the half. Irving was like a cat hunting, feigning disinterest but pouncing nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Baynes brought great energy, banging in the paint and running around setting big, hard screens and rolling into space to make plays. He scored 8 points in the first period, and finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists in 25 minutes.

Baynes started at center for the second game in a row, while Marcus Morris started in Al Horford‘s place, who missed his return to Atlanta, where he played his first nine seasons, with a sore knee. Morris shot just 3-for-10 and scored 8 points.

After shooting the cover off the ball in the first quarter, Boston goofed off in the second quarter, taking some silly shots because of the big lead. Boston made 16-of-25 shots in the first quarter, but 4-for-18 in the second.

When coach Brad Stevens brought his starters back with four minutes left in the half to try to tidy up, they were sluggish too. The defensive intensity waned and the Hawks cut a 29-point lead down to 16 at the half, 61-45.

To start the second half, however, the starters pushed the lead back out to 25 points within the first three minutes and the Celtics coasted into a much-needed win.

 

Boston moved the ball well against little resistance from Atlanta, dishing out a season-high 31 assists on 42 baskets. The defense, which was tough and energetic most of the night, forced the Hawks into 20 turnovers.

Jayson Tatum scored 14 points and made two beautiful three-pointers, one a step back over the defender and another pull up three. He also had the nastiest dunk of the game.

The Kid drops to the ‘B’ level because he was part of the group that let their guard down a bit too much and took some loose shots with the lead.

Jaylen Brown‘s season-long struggles have been well-documented, and he didn’t exactly bust out of his slump, but he did bust a move on Taurean Prince.

Brown missed all three of his three-point attempts, but scored 10 points, had 2 steals, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists, including this behind-the-back beauty to Jayson Tatum.

In his second game since becoming the Celtics sixth man, at least temporarily, Gordon Hayward had 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. He was also a team-high plus-20.

Marcus Smart missed all three of his three-pointers, but dished out a team-high 7 assists, including this dime to Terry Rozier.

Rozier scored a bench-high 12 points, and dished out three assists. Daniel Theis backed up Baynes and played big minutes with Horford out, scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 board, while playing great interior defense.

Semi Ojeleye played 23 minutes, and looked as aggressive as he has all season, scoring 8 points and attempting 11 shots. He also pulled down 5 boards.

Rookies Robert Williams III and Brad Wanamaker got some good time in the fourth quarter and contributed down the stretch. Williams had 4 points and a Gumby-arm block, while Wanamaker had 5 points.

What’s Next?

The Boston Celtics improve to 10-9 with the win and will return to the court tomorrow in Dallas at 8:30 p.m.  The Mavericks are 8-9 on the season, but 7-2 at home.



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