Jayson Tatum broke out of his recent slump, scoring 34, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Hawks’ offense. Boston dropped to 7-8 after a SCORE loss to the Hawks.
The Hawks rode big runs at the end of both the second and third quarters to their seventh victory on the year, improving to 7-9 after a tumultuous start. John Collins scored 20, Trae Young had 18, while Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish each had 19 points in a well-rounded team showing from Atlanta.
Tatum finished with 34, but added five assists and nine boards. Marcus Smart led the team with 11 assists and Grant Williams had his best game of the season, scoring 18 and grabbing six boards.
The Celtics were without Rob Williams and Jaylen Brown. Williams was injured during Monday’s contest vs. Cleveland, and Head Coach Ime Udoka assured it would be a “short-term thing.” Grant Williams started in his place.
Boston and Atlanta were both pouring in points in the first three minutes, trading baskets until Atlanta went on a quick eight-point run, forcing Boston to call a timeout down 19-11. Kevin Huerter had eight points early, hitting two 3-pointers to extend Atlanta’s lead.
The Celtics endured another slow start, hitting 4/12 of their shots early, falling behind 22-11. Threes from Jayson Tatum and Grant Williams followed by a steal and layup from Dennis Schröder quickly cut the lead to just three.
Boston was able to force multiple turnovers in the first quarter and attacked in transition. They had three steals for seven fast break points in the first quarter.
Grant Williams had 10 points and two 3-pointers as he was second on the Celtics in scoring in the first. Tatum led the way with 11 points on 4/7 shooting, shaking off some early-season rust.
An 8-0 Atlanta run with four minutes left gave the Hawks a sizable lead, but the Celtics continued with the theme of trading runs. They closed another gap, trailing 30-29 after one quarter.
With the second quarter came another offensive lull from the Celtics. Boston managed seven points in the first six minutes, while Atlanta kept a steadier pace, taking a six-point lead midway through the quarter.
Huerter was still ablaze, his total up to 14 points halfway through the second. At halftime he had 19 points.
Trae Young, while barely scoring, was commanding the Atlanta offense. He had five assists in the first quarter alone. Young’s scoring picked up in the second quarter, he finished the first half with 10 points and seven assists.
Young finished with an 18-point, 11-assist double-double.
Atlanta rode the momentum of the early second quarter to the half, carrying a nine-point lead into halftime, 58-49. Williams led the Celtics in rebounding and was still second in scoring with 15 points, still trailing Tatum with 16.
Williams added to his impressive night to end the first half, sticking with a loose ball to convert an and-one opportunity.
The Hawks bench vastly outperformed Boston’s, outscoring them 15-6. Cam Reddish had eight off the bench for Atlanta and Danilo Gallinari had six. Josh Richardson had all six of Boston’s bench points in a good first half showing. He was 3/5 from the floor in 14 first-half minutes.
John Collins exploded for a quick seven points to open up the third quarter, surpassing his first-half total of five before the third quarter was halfway over. Bogdan Bogdanovic also woke up in the third quarter, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the Hawks lead as the quarter wound down.
The outburst from Bogdanovic spurred a big run from the Hawks. After narrowing the lead to just four at one point in the third quarter, Atlanta pulled away to secure a 12-point lead going into the final quarter. The Hawks had a massive third quarter shooting the ball, hitting 7/12 of their 3-pointers.
After three, Boston had five players in double figures: Tatum (24), Williams (18), Al Horford (12), Schröder (11) and Richardson (11).
The Hawks outscored the Celtics 33-28 in the third quarter. It wasn’t a bad offensive quarter for Boston by any means, they hit 10/22 shots (45%) and 4-11 threes (36%). It was a rare defensive letdown from the Celtics in the third, with Atlanta shooting an unconscious 12/19 (63%) in the third.
An early fourth-quarter eruption from Reddish had Atlanta’s lead at 16 to begin the fourth period. Reddish finished with 19 points off the bench on 8/14 shooting.
While the Celtics were able to trim down the game-high 16 point lead, they were unable to fully complete a comeback.
Boston was able to get the Hawks lead near 10 points, hovering around cutting it to single digits. But, the Hawks had an answer for every Celtics spurt, closing out the game on their home court for their seventh win on the season.
The Celtics’ next contest is Friday, Nov. 19 against the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m. in the TD Garden, where it is rumored LeBron James will be making his return from injury.
For more postgame coverage of the Celtics loss in Atlanta, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss Jayson Tatum’s bounce back game and the resurgence of Grant Williams.