With the win, this series has a completely different feel to it. Boston was terrible in Atlanta, but winning the way the did at home tonight proves they'll be tough to beat there, and now they have to figure out how to win one on the road and possibly steal this series.
Multiple players stepped up tonight, but Isaiah Thomas was special, scoring 42 points to lead Boston to the 111-103 win. Jonas Jerebko, who was surprisingly inserted into the starting lineup, scored 11 big points, but more important was the 12 rebounds he secured, one of the keys for Boston. Atlanta does damage when they get second chance points so the Celtics need to make defensive rebounding a team priority, and Jerebko led the way in that department.
Terry Rozier continued to get minutes because of the injury to Avery Bradley, and although it seemed like he didn't do a ton, the truth is he was very effective in his 17 minutes, picking up five points, three rebounds, one steal, and he committed just one turnover. He does need to learn how to stay in front of fast guards though, his speed won't save him against everyone.
Atlanta played pretty much the exact way they played in Games One and Two, but the big difference was the made shots for Boston. The Celtics shot 46% from the field to Atlanta's 44%, but Boston was able to hit more threes and get to the free throw line. If the Celtics can play with the same energy on Sunday, there is no doubt they can tie this series and take this back to Atlanta with a shot to take control of the series. The Hawks let an extremely banged up but tough as nails team stay alive tonight when they had a chance to put them away, and now they are going to have a series on their hands.
Last but not least, congratulations to Brad Stevens on his first playoff victory, the first of many.
FINAL SCORE: BOSTON CELTICS 111, ATLANTA HAWKS 103
Series: Atlanta leads Boston, 2-1
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