Coming off a signature win over Golden State just on Thursday, no one would have been shocked if the Boston Celtics had a bit of a letdown against the three-win Atlanta Hawks.
But the script on Saturday didn’t look all that different than previous games for Boston which extended its winning streak to 15 in a row in defeating the Hawks 110-99.
Kyrie Irving led all Celtics with 30 points with Jaylen Brown tallying a career-high 27 points. Atlanta (3-13) was led by Dennis Schroder’s 23 points while Kent Bazemore had 19.
Boston (15-2) has now won 15 in a row which ranks as the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history, just four short of tying the 2008-2009 Celtics which won 19 straight.
The ways in which Boston has managed to extend its winning streak have varied, but a common denominator in most of them has been the Celtics seemingly getting stronger as the game progresses.
Boston spent most of the first half playing from behind, but a 17-7 run in the third quarter which was capped off by back-to-back 3’s by Jaylen Brown put the Celtics ahead 68-65.
The Celtics were able to maintain a slim lead for the rest of the quarter which ended with Boston ahead 80-77.
In many ways, Saturday’s win was indicative of how Boston has managed to keep on winning.
In the first half they struggled to score, but Marcus Morris did his part to keep them afloat with 10 of his 14 points coming in the second quarter.
Boston’s surge in the third quarter was fueled in large part by Jayson Tatum who finished with 14 points – all coming in the third which served as the highest-scoring quarter (36 points) for the Celtics this season.
Having regained control of the game, Boston’s top two scorers most of the night – Brown and Irving – took over as they combined to score 17 of the Celtics’ 30 fourth-quarter points.
And while the main guys were getting it done down the stretch, the Celtics got a much-needed lift from the second unit in the first half to get back in the game.
Marcus Smart, who has struggled mightily with his shooting of late, had eight of his 10 points off the bench in the first half which included a pair of 3’s.
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