Even with Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart out of the lineup for Boston, the Hawks were always going to face an uphill battle Monday evening. They were short De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Bembry, Alex Len, Bruno Fernando, Jabari Parker, and Chandler Parsons. They had so many players out that Evan Turner made his first appearance in over a month, a guy I think most Hawks fans were convinced they would never see again. All things considered, they actually played well under the circumstances.
The Hawks came out hot on Monday, with Trae Young playing out of his mind early, dropping 17 points in the first quarter, and 23 in the first half. Kevin Huerter continued to play a more aggressive brand of basketball and ended up with 23 points, including five 3-pointers. And John Collins played fantastic, including an impressive buzzer-beater to end the first half, and 10-12 shooting.
The Hawks gave the Celtics a fight in the first half, but the Celtics comfortably took over in the second half after a poor defensive effort in the third quarter. Following a quiet start, Jayson Tatum caught fire, and he and Gordon Hayward ran away with the game in the second half. The Hawks, who were on fire in the first half from deep, could not buy a three-ball. They made things interesting with a few minutes left on the clock, cutting the deficit to two, but the Celtics ultimately pulled away late when Jaylen Brown pushed the deficit to eight, capping off a strong homecoming effort.
One bright spot for Atlanta was Jeff Teague. He had his best game since being acquired a couple of weeks ago. While Teague has looked completely lost since the trade from Minnesota, he ended up with 18 points in the start tonight. Hopefully, he is finding a groove in this Atlanta system where he is playing more off-ball offense.
The Hawks will be back in action Wednesday in Minnesota. Jeff Teague revenge game anybody?