The Celtics had every reason to give up and let this one slip. They used up a lot of energy in their blow out win over the Pacers last night. They had to travel after the game and got in to Atlanta at 4 am. They played in the first half like an old team that played last night and got in at 4 am, giving the Hawks a 53-38 lead at the half. It would have been easy to throw in the towel and write this game off.
But the Celtics refused to give up and they came out after half time and played the same kind of tough defense we saw from them vs the Pacers. They held Atlanta without a field goal for the first 7 minutes of the 3rd quarter and outscored them 51-28 in the second half for the 89-81win. Doc said that they didn't make any adjustments at the half, they just came out and played harder and did what they did in the first half better.
Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) fights for the ball with
Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia (27) in first-half action of an NBA
basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with the 25th triple double of his career with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals. Avery Bradley was just 3-9 from the field for 6 points, but once again, his ball pressure made a big difference in the outcome of the game.
Brandon Bass is liking his move to the starting lineup as he scored 10 points on 5-6 shooting to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and a block. 3 of his rebounds were on the offensive end. Kevin Garnett continued his solid and energetic play as he finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Paul Pierce had a balanced game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal.
Jared Sullinger continues to get better with each and every game. He is making the case for more minutes with his play, but he needs to continue to work on conditioning as he asked Doc to take him out after 23 hard fought minutes. He was a beast on the boards and finished with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 4 on the offensive end, 2 assists and a block. Jason Terry continues to struggle with his shot, hitting just 2 of 8 in this game for 4 points to go with 3 assists.
small forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots over Atlanta Hawks shooting guard
Kyle Korver (26) in first half action of an NBA basketball game on
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
Jeff Green is still struggling all the way around. He finished with 3 points on just 1-4 shooting to go with 1 rebound. He hasn't been aggressive and seems lost at times. Jason Collins finished with his usual empty box score other than 2 points, but he gives KG a breather while giving the Celtics a defensive presence in the paint. Courtney Lee's shot is finally falling for him. He was just 1-1 tonight with 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 2 points.
The Celtics out rebounded the Hawks 44-36 and were very active on the boards throughout the game. they also out rebounded the Hawks on the offensive end 16-8. They outscored the Hawks 34-30 in the paint. At one point, the Celtics were down by 19 before they turned it on and took over the game. It was an impressive comeback for a team that had every reason to just let this game go. I'm not willing to say they've turned the corner yet, but there are certainly signs of it after 2 quality wins in a row. Next up are the Knicks on Monday, who should give the Celtics another tough test.