It wasn’t pretty but the Boston Celtics came to Atlanta and will leave with the only thing that matters - a victory - following a 113-105 win over the Hawks which snapped an 0-for-January record on the road.
The Celtics (28-18) have now won three in a row after dropping their previous three games - all on the road.
Boston spent a good chunk of the game playing from behind which has been a common occurrence for them on the road.
Adding to their adversity was the loss of Marcus Smart in the third quarter after being whistled for a second technical foul which is an automatic ejection.
But the loss of Smart seemed to light a spark in his teammates who rallied from a double-digit deficit for the win.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s victory over the Hawks.
Kyrie Irving: For large chunks of the first half, Kyrie Irving carried the Celtics offensively which is when he scored 23 of his game-high 32 points.
Kevin Huerter: We know about his shot-making, but Huerter has play-making skills as well. In addition to scoring a team-high 19 points, he also dished out seven assists with three steals.
Jayson Tatum: Good bounce-back for Jayson Tatum after a career-worst game last night against Memphis, tallying 19 points to go with five rebounds.
John Collins: One of the best young bigs in the NBA, Collins tallied a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds along with three assists.
Jaylen Brown: Without Gordon Hayward (personal reasons), Brown came up big all game long before finishing with 14 points off the bench.
Trae Young: It was another solid night for the rookie, scoring 16 points to go with seven assists.
Terry Rozier: He didn’t shoot the ball well but there was no denying his impact on the game especially after Marcus Smart was ejected in the third quarter. Rozier finished with a near double-double of nine points and 11 rebounds to go with four assists and three steals.
Al Horford: He missed a bunny (easy basket) that he makes ninety-nine out of 100 times, but that doesn’t take away from what was another solid game by Horford. He tallied a near double-double of 13 points to go with nine rebounds.
Marcus Smart: He has been one of the main keys to Boston’s turnaround from a 10-10 start to the season, and the Celtics are fortunate to have come away with a win on a night when Smart got tossed in the third quarter. More details will come about in the coming days will emerge, but Smart has to be - no pun intended - smarter when it comes to this type of stuff. Now to his credit, he has done a great job at keeping his emotions in check most of this season. He’ll have to get back to that mindset right away, although he might miss a game depending on how the league views the incident with Atlanta’s DeAndre’ Bembry that led to his ejection.
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