When Amir Johnson is your leading rebounder, that’s a good sign.
When he’s one of your leading scorers, well, that could be a good sign or a bad sign.
On one hand, you like to see Johnson getting involved in the offense. On the other, the Celtics have plenty of other players they count on more to fill the bucket - and if Johnson is leading the way on offense, which he was for most of the night, that probably means nobody else is doing much offensively.
Unfortunately, that was true. The Celtics shot just 31.8-percent from the field. Johnson finished with 14 points, two shy of the team-lead held by Isaiah Thomas, who scored half of his 16 points at the free throw line and finished 4-for-15 from the field.
Johnson, though, was really the only effective player on offense in the starting lineup. He was 6-for-11 from the field while the rest of the starting lineup combined to be 8-for-40.
He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and blocked a shot.
Johnson was a big reason the Celtics didn’t go completely off the rails in the second quarter, as he and Evan Turner each scored eight points to stop the bleeding and actually outscore the Hawks in the second quarter 21-19 after being embarrassed in the first quarter.
And then again in the third quarter, with the C’s still struggling to hit shots as a team, Johnson scored six points and grabbed six rebounds.
“Just running the floor,” Johnson told reporters. “I was aggressive a couple plays, took it to the basket, trying to get guys open, set screens, [I was] rolling and they were able to find me. Just playing hard overall and that’s what we gotta do to win games especially during that first half.”
Brad Stevens turned to small ball in a serious time of need after the Celtics went down big early. But they can’t go completely small at all times. Though Stevens didn't use much of Jared Sullinger in Game 2, Amir Johnson proved that he can be very useful this series.