The Boston Celtics hosted the Atlanta Hawks last night in attempt to tie the series at 2-2.
Isaiah Tomas was coming off of a 42 point performance, a career regular and post-season high. Thomas knew he would have to step up again if the Celts wanted to even this series up.
The game started out with the Celtics coming out hot and earning a double digit lead early in the first. The Hawks, however, were able to find their ground later in the quarter, and managed to only trail by 2 by the start of the second. After that, the game was very streaky.
After the first quarter, the game was a battle of runs. The Hawks were able to go on a 17 point run to earn a 16 point lead early in the third. The Celtics would respond and go on their own runs to gain ground going into the fourth. Paul Millsap’s 45 points weren’t enough to put this game out of reach, as the Celtics kept responding. Going into the fourth quarter, the Celtics trailed by three, and needed to get some momentum in order to win this game.
From the begging of the fourth, the Celtics and Hawks went back and forth, not giving up any large leads. With just over a minute to play, the Celtics managed to earn a 4 point lead. However that lead wouldn’t last long as Jeff Teague hit back to back threes to put the Hawks up by 2 with 30 seconds left. Isaiah Thomas got the ball on the inbound for the Celtics, drove to the hoop, and finished.
The Hawks had the ball and a chance to win the game.
Teague had the ball at he top of the key with 20 seconds left and was going to hold the ball until the last second in order to guarantee not giving the Celtics the ball back. Teague proceeded to dribble the ball until there was 1.6 seconds left, and then threw up one of the worst shots ever taken. The ball slipped out of his hands before he finished his follow through and the game needed another 5 minutes to decide.
The game went to OT.
The Celtics were abel to hit their perimeter shots and outscored the Hawks 12-3 in overtime. Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch 3 before the shot clock expired that really put this game away. By then it was a three possession game with just over a minute left and the Hawks fouled their way to the end of the game. The rest is history.
The energy in the Garden was immense and was partially responsible for the Celtics ability to bounce back so many times. The crowd was very involved but won’t be able to help the Celtics tomorrow as they travel to Atlanta for game 5.
Marcus Smart contributed 20 points, including 11 in the fourth. If the Celtics want to win in Atlanta, it looks like Smart and Thomas are going to have to step up again. They’ve been able to the last two games, but we have to see if they can do it in Atlanta.