Archives For Avery Bradley

In what was a defensive — and at times ugly — affair the Atlanta Hawks triumphed (89-72) over the Boston Celtics to take Game 2 and, with it, a 2-0 series lead in the first round. Kyle Korver and Al Horford both notched 17 points for the Hawks, while Isaiah Thomas led the way with 16 points for the Celtics.

First quarter blitz

In the last few games before the playoffs began, and Game 1 of this series, the Boston Celtics have been known to start the game off very slowly and this has left themselves facing an uphill battle from the very early stages of the game. That trend continued in Game 2, as the Hawks bolted out of the gates to take a 24-3 lead in the first seven minutes, eventually ending the first quarter with a 24-7 advantage (despite not scoring in the final 5:28).

The two teams would score the exact same number of points in the final three periods (65) so, in the end, the difference in this game was the first quarter. There were a few reasons why the Hawks blitzed the Celtics in the first quarter, let’s start with the Hawks defense, which fuelled everything else and set the tone for the rest of the game.

This was one of the first defensive possessions of the game. The Celtics try to run their offense, and it ends up with Jae Crowder attempting to get the ball over to Marcus Smart. Kent Bazemore reads the play, picks off the pass, and gets out in the open floor. He turns down the option to set up Kyle Korver and gets the friendly toilet rim roll on his three-point attempt.

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The Atlanta Hawks drew first blood in their round one matchup against the Boston Celtics, 101-102, to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Hawks were led by Jeff Teague and Al Horford, who both registered  double-doubles, while the Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas’ 27 points and eight assists.

Kent Bazemore also had a great game for the Hawks, scoring 23 points and was a constant menace to the Celtics’ defense with his cutting action.

A tale of two halves

The Celtics were pretty poor on the offensive end in the first half — 12-of-52 (23.1%) shooting and 2-of-16 (12.5%) from behind the arc made for a very disappointing first half for the Celtics. Bad shots, settling for jump shots, and some great defense displayed by the Hawks limited the Celtics to 34 first half points. However, sometimes words simply aren’t enough, and with that I present you the Celtics’ first half shot chart.

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The Hawks were in Boston for the second half of a back-to-back and the second game in a four games in five nights road trip, and it showed early in this game. Coach Budenholzer once again shuffled the starting lineup and gave some rest to Al Horford and 33-year-old Kyle Korver against a struggling Celtics team, inserting Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap back into the team after their game off in Philadelphia last night. Boston used their youthful energy to grab four offensive rebounds in the first half and the game was tied at 34 midway through the second quarter before the Hawks turned up the defense and pulled away from the turnover-happy Celtics. Millsap and company were perfectly happy to take those turnovers the other way and ended up with 13 steals and 19 fast-break points.

When the Hawks were forced to slow it down in their half-court offense, it wasn’t much harder for them. Without Kyle Korver for the first time all season, there was some worry pregame whether or not the Hawks could execute their offense without his gravity, especially against a scrappy Boston Celtics team featuring some of the better young defensive guards in the league in Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart.

Those fears subsided quickly as the ball continued to whip around the court with the same ferocity it does every night; Atlanta had 23 assists on 36 made field goals, led by Teague’s six. Overall, Atlanta shot 49% from the field, made 10 3s, and thoroughly dominated the Celtics from the second quarter until the end of the game, never letting the Celtics within nine points after halftime. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 92, Celtics 91

Raj Prashad —  December 31, 2013

FINAL

BOS(13-18) 91 – 92 (18-14) ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 34 pts, 15 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk
K. Olynyk (BOS): 21 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

For much of the afternoon, the Hawks, as a team, couldn’t get anything in the basket. After falling back by 18 points in the second quarter, Atlanta bounced back and used a 30-6 run to fight through the third quarter. Using great defense on a buzzer-beating Jordan Crawford attempt and a strong individual effort from Paul Millsap, the Hawks fought back for a strong win on the road.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Atlanta can’t count on this every night from Millsap, but the forward was fantastic yet again as Al Horford’s replacement. He scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the win. This was just the second 30-point/15-board game of Millsap’s career, but he definitely made it count. 10/10

Jeff Teague: The point guard woke up in the second half, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in the final two quarters alone. He also played fantastic defense on Jordan Crawford, stifling Boston’s point guard for much of the afternoon. 8/10

Elton Brand: Brand looked tired again, unable to keep up with Boston’s bigs in the paint. He had just four points and one rebound in 12 minutes. 4/10

Mike Scott: Coach Bud continues to shuffle Atlanta’s lineups in Horford’s absence, this time pushing Scott in as a starter. The forward responded with a tough shooting night, notching eight points on 12 shots and seven rebounds. It will be interesting to see how much time he will get at the 3-position, something Coach Bud initially didn’t want him to do, going forward. 5/10

Kyle Korver: It took until the fourth quarter, but Korver finally knocked down a three to extend his streak to 101 games with a make from distance. The sharpshooter turned that into a four-point play, drawing a foul and igniting Atlanta’s offense to the win. He never forced the ball, instead making the right passes and looking for better shots for his teammates despite the streak hanging over his head. 7/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Celtics 89, Hawks 81

Bo Churney —  January 6, 2013

FINAL

BOS(16-17) 89 – 81 (20-12) ATL

Key Performers:

L. Williams (ATL): 28 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast
P. Pierce (BOS): 26 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well, that was pretty pathetic, Hawks. After leading 53-38 at halftime, Atlanta only managed to score 28 points in the 2nd half, as the Celtics just crashed the boards and forced turnovers. Eventually, Pierce started to get whatever he wanted, and Bass and KG hit their open shots. The Hawks, meanwhile, couldn’t hit anything, even when they got the ball into the paint. The effort when to hell (with which Larry Drew was extremely unhappy with postgame), and, well… you get the point.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: This might have been the worst game of Josh’s career. He was 4-18 shooting with six turnovers, and he was clearly angry after the game, and he may have had a bit of a right to be. We know he going to take a lot of jumpers at this point, but he was 2-8 in the paint in this one. That just doesn’t happen, and you could tell Josh was not happy at all with the officiating. Still, FOUR OF EIGHTEEN SHOOTING AND SIX TURNOVERS! 1/10

Al Horford: As bad as Josh was, Al wasn’t much better. He missed all five of his jumpers, most of which were pretty open looks. But hey, at least he actually hit some free throws in this one! (even though those two barely went in) 4/10

Lou Williams: Lou was absolutely great in the first half, going 8-9 from the field, hitting four threes, and finishing the half with 21 points. Boston did a great job at keying in on him in the 2nd half, only allowing Lou to get off three shots, and forcing several turnovers. His 28 total points were one of the few bright spots in this one, though. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Another “meh” shooting night from Kyle, and his defense on Pierce at times was a little shaky, even though it was as bad as it looks in the box score; Pierce was just hitting everything, and there wasn’t much Korver (and then DeShawn) could do about it. (it probably didn’t help that they weren’t allowed to touch Paul… 3/10

Jeff Teague: Like Lou, Jeff had a great first half, and was continuously getting into the lane. Of course, that ceased to happen in the 2nd half, and JT couldn’t get anything going for him. Eventually, he just kind of became non-existent on offense once he realized he couldn’t get into the painted area. 6/10 Continue Reading…