The Hawks fell behind early to a hot-shooting Boston Celtics team, allowing 42 points on 17-for-22 (77%) in the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 23 early in the second quarter as Rajon Rondo continued to dish to open men, who promptly sank their uncontested jumpshots.
The Hawks battled back in the second half, mostly behind the hot shooting of Kyle Korver and superb play of Dennis Schröder. Korver scored 10 points in the third quarter to help cut into the large Boston lead, and then Schröder took over in the fourth, scoring 10 points and failing to turn the ball over despite the intense defensive pressure applied by Avery Bradley. Schröder also gathered the final defensive rebound in a scramble with 14.9 seconds left, leading to a Kent Bazemore run out layup to secure the game for the Hawks with a score of 109-105.
“Our aggressiveness and activity wasn’t where it needed to be for a half,” commented Budenholzer on the team’s poor defensive start. “I give our guys a lot of credit for finding a way to bounce back and giving ourselves a chance to win a tough game.”
One part of the Hawks’ renewed defensive effort in the second half was Korver matching up on Rondo. “[Rondo] was kind of picking us apart like a quarterback with 14 assists at halftime,” said Budenholzer. “We just wanted to try a different look.” After 14 assists in the first half, Rondo was limited to five assists, three turnovers, and zero points in the second half and a lot of that had to do with Korver’s length and intelligent footwork on defense. Continue Reading…