BOSTON –- Kelly Olynyk thought his eyes were playing tricks on him Friday night.
At one point in the game, he looked up and saw that the Celtics had taken nearly 30 more shots from the field than the Atlanta Hawks.
Indeed, one of the keys to Boston’s 106-93 upset win over the Hawks was their ability to literally out-shoot them by a final tally of 103-76.
“I mean, if you’re gonna shoot (almost) 30 more times than the other team, then hopefully you win,” Olynyk said.
Getting more shots allowed the Celtics to have an off-night shooting the ball, which they did on Friday, and yet still found themselves within striking distance most of the game and in great position to get the victory in the closing moments.
The Hawks shot 47.4 percent from the field, while the Celtics connected on just 40.8 percent of their shots.
But because Boston had so many more attempts, the Celtics still had the more effective offense in part by making more field goals (42-36) than the Hawks along with having a significantly higher offensive rating (104.7 to 96.1).
And even though the Celtics had a lower shooting percentage, Boston still had a better defensive rating (96.1 to Atlanta’s 104.7) due to the team’s ability to limit the number of possessions the Hawks had all game.
A key to that was the Celtics’ dominating the boards 50-35 which helped generate a 24-7 advantage in second-chance points and was part of a 50-48 Celtics edge in points in the paint. In addition, Boston’s defense allowed them to come out on top in transition points, 11-4.
Regardless of what the analytics reveal, the bottom line is the Boston Celtics knocked off one of the top teams in the NBA, a squad that until Friday night, had not suffered a road loss this season.
“We just need wins, you know what I’m saying,” said Boston’s Evan Turner who had a team-best offensive rating of 118.9 on Friday. “I think it’s too early to really dive into anything. Whether a team’s .500 or 8-0 or anything, it’s too early to really get into that.”
Head coach Brad Stevens agrees.
“One of 82 is the right way to put it,” Stevens said.