Tonight’s matchup with the Boston Celtics would be no easy task. With a notable ‘hardcore’ practice the day before in anticipation of the visitors, the Hawks wanted to get things started early and hold off Boston’s star players. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.
At first, it looked like the Hawks were going to pull off a major upset and use the win as a momentum booster. But anyone who knows Atlanta sports knows that you can’t get happy until the final result is a win after the game has ended. At one point, the Hawks boasted a 16-point lead. They were firing on all cylinders and you could almost catch a glimpse of the Hawks of yesteryear. But the word that has plagued Atlanta sports for decades “finish” peered its nasty head into Philips Arena and a combination of Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum led the Celtics to victory in the second half.
While Irving will always nab the attention cause of his namesake, the silent heroes of this game were Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown finished with 27 points while Tatum totaled 14 points. Irving’s 30 points were capped off in the 4th quarter with killer crossovers and finesse drives through the lane, often causing contact (which was fine since he shot 100% from the free-throw line).
Atlanta looked strong in the first half but fell apart in the second. Dennis Schroder led the club with 23 points, 9 assists, and 3 steals, but it wasn’t enough to stop Boston’s attack. Taurean Prince was looking good offensively but his defense definitely needs some work. Luke Babbitt was on-and-off with 11 points but if they can get him going from the 3-point line he can end up being a legitimate threat on offense.
If there was a “look on the bright side” to this game it would be the play of John Collins. While there was some inconsistency in his game, overall, he put on a great performance as a rookie going against a stacked Celtics roster. Collins managed 18 points, 7 rebounds, and shot 100% from the charity stripe.
Now sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 3-13, the Hawks will try to pull things together and prepare for the Spurs in San Antonio. Tip-off is set for 8:30 pm EST.
It’s pretty obvious that 2017/18 will be seen as a ‘rebuild’ but it was kind of painful to see the stars we let go flourishing with their new clubs.
Photo: Hakim Wright