Boston Celtics’ Grades Are In After Win Against Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks: Post-Game Grades For The Celtics
In their third matchup of the season, the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics squared off in green territory on Wednesday night with a result of a 115-104 win for the Celtics, who had been struggling mightily as of late.
Pre tip-off, the game had "slugfest" written all over it. Heading into the night, Boston had lost five straight and Atlanta had dropped nine of their previous 10.
The Celtics have been dealing with their fair share of injuries and only had nine players available tonight. Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Vitor Faverani were all out of commission for this contest, which forced head coach Brad Stevens to go with a new-look starting lineup. Jerryd Bayless made his first start as a Celtic, and Kris Humphries got the nod in lieu of Sullinger, who missed his third straight game due to a mild concussion.
The Hawks were also hampered by injuries to a few of their key players: Al Horford, Gustavo Ayon and Paul Millsap were all inactive, leaving Atlanta with a thin front-court rotation consisting of Elton Brand, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Mike Scott and Cartier Martin. Luckily for the Hawks, Korver, Carroll and Jeff Teague all had big performances, chipping in 17, 24, and 26 points, respectively.
The two teams went back and forth for most of the game until the Cs pulled away late in the fourth quarter thanks to an 11-3 run. Atlanta shot an impressive 47.4 percent from downtown, but the Celtics made five more field goals than did the Hawks, which ended up being the difference in the game. This was the first of a five-game home stretch for Boston, so it was encouraging to see them come out with a win.
6. Point Guard: Rajon Rondo
This game was somewhat sentimental for Rajon Rondo, as it marked his first matchup against the Hawks since he tore his ACL last January during a humiliating loss in Atlanta. He seemed to take it to heart, and ignited a late first-quarter charge to bring the Cs back in the game after they were trailing by as many as 15 points. Rondo played one of his best games of the season, controlling the pace and getting the ball to Boston's hot hands all night. He finished with 22 points and 11 assists, although he didn't tally a single rebound.
5. Shooting Guard: Jerryd Bayless
Bayless was nothing short of fantastic tonight. In his first start with Boston, he scored a season-high 29 points while converting 12-of-21 shots from the field. The Celtics rode his hot hand through the third quarter and were able to combat frequent "And1" plays by Atlanta with Bayless' five three-pointers. He struggled to contain Teague, but then again nobody else could seem to stop him either.
4. Small Forward: Jeff Green
Is Jeff Green finally developing some game-to-game constancy? Tonight marked his 10th consecutive double-figure scoring game for the 6-foot-9 forward, and he has scored at least 17 points in nine out of those 10. Green was involved in the Celtics' offense tonight, and looked comfortable for most of the contest, even when his shot wasn't necessarily falling. He ended the night with 17 points -- including two HUGE dunks -- on 46.7 percent shooting.
3. Power Forward: Brandon Bass
Brandon Bass had a quiet night, but an effective one nonetheless. He frequently found himself with open shots thanks to a good job of cutting to the rim and spotting up from midrange to receive passes from Rondo. He played 27 minutes and posted 14 points and eight rebounds on 5-11 shooting.
2. Center: Kris Humphries
Humphries was inserted into the starting lineup when Sullinger was declared unavailable, but saw limited playing time in tonight's game. He only logged 17 minutes, but was very effective in his time on the court. He scored 10 points and ripped down five rebounds while playing solid defense against a bruising Elton Brand.
Aside from Gerald Wallace, who had arguably his best game of the season (12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, +25), the bench wasn't anything spectacular. Joel Anthony was fantastic on the defensive end but predictably bad offensively, and Phil Pressey was able to hold down the point guard slot effectively when Rondo was taking a breather, but he only contributed two points and didn't make a field goal. Not including Wallace, the bench had 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting.