Halftime hot takes: Celtics lead Hawks 61-49

Honoring a Legend

I absolutely love Jaylen Brown rocking these custom-made Bill Russell tribute sneakers:

Hawkish Energy

Atlanta scored on its first three possessions and played with an intensity we didn’t see in Game 1. Clint Capela got a steal at halfcourt that lead to a Trae Young three, then a few minutes later, Young got a clean layup after it looked like Jayson Tatum inadvertently set a pick on White. The Hawks took an early 13-5 lead. Nobody in the media believes they can make this a series, but as we saw in the play-in game at Miami, this team has some talent and can show promise in these no-expectation situations.

A Tale of Two Hunters

De’Andre Hunter looked overmatched at times in game one, but he came out firing tonight, hitting his first four shots, and grabbing six rebounds (three offensive) in his first eight minutes. He was the 1st quarter catalyst for a Hawks team that collected five offensive rebounds along, three steals, two blocks in the 1st quarter. After he subbed out of the game, the Celtics were able to take control and not surrender the lead. When he subbed back in in the 2nd quarter, he went back to bricking shots, turning the ball over, and playing inconsistent defense. He made his first four shots but missed his next five.

Timelord Takeover

Robert Williams changed the game when he entered midway through the 1st quarter. He got three straight layups at the rim and altered several drives on the defensive end. With 1:15 remaining in the quarter, he found Smart for a wing three, which tied the score at 22 and capped an 8-0 Celtic run. Although Capela has similar skills as Williams and Onyeka Okongwu is instant energy, they both looked overmatched trying to deal with him. Brogdon banked in a halfcourt buzzer-beater and the Celtics led 28-25 after one.

Here’s the shot:

Derrick White had the block on Young to set this up, but that wasn’t even his best play of the quarter. This steal and reverse layup was the exclamation point to a 14-0 Celtic run:

More Derrick White Praise

Atlanta’s defense rightfully focused on stopping Tatum and Brown, and that opened up driving lanes for White. He finished the first half scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, all of which came in the paint. He was also playing lockdown defense on both Young and Murray and mixed his “always make the right play” modus operandi with a few highlight clips.

Whatever You Need

Tatum was having his way in the first half. There’s nobody on the Hawks that can physically match up to him and everything came so easy. He took whatever the defense gave him, starting a little slow but finishing with 18 points and 7 rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting. The Celtics led by 12 at half, outscoring the Hawks 38-18 in the paint.

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