The Celtics have a commanding 2-0 series lead following a 119-106 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Jayson Tatum had a team-high 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting and 5-of-9 from deep to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists. Derrick White continued his great play from Game 1 with 26 points (11-of-16 from the floor), seven rebounds and three blocks.
"We're so much more of a dynamic team when D-White is asserting himself and being aggressive and not being passive." Tatum said in his postgame presser. "These last two games [White] being aggressive, making the right play, attacking the rim and not necessarily waiting makes us that much more of a better team."
Jaylen Brown scored 18 points, while Marcus Smart added 14 points, six assists and three steals. Malcolm Brogdon led the bench with 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for Boston, who finished with 10 steals on the night.
"[Tatum and Brown] get a lot of attention. It just opens up the court for myself," White said during his postgame comments. "When the opportunity is there I just have to attack and do what I do."
Dejounte Murray was the Hawks lead scorer with 29 points on 11-of-24 shooting and 7-of-13 from behind the arc. Trae Young netted 24 points on 22 attempts and six assists, while De'Andre Hunter (12 rebounds) and Bogdan Bogdanovic each contributed 18 points respectively for Atlanta -- who turned the ball over 16 times.
The Hawks jumped out to a 22-11 advantage to open the first quarter, before the Celtics used a 29-10 run to take a lead for good. Boston was ahead 61-49 at the break that eventually turned into a 22-point margin (the largest of the night) to start the second half.
Boston led 74-57 with 7:07 remaining in the third when Young subbed out and briefly made his way to the locker room. The Hawks would outscore the home team 24-16 to finish the period, including 11 straight points from Murray (back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers) to get within single digits (90-81) heading into the final frame.
Young returned to score seven of Atlanta's first 14 points in the fourth quarter and once again cut their deficit to nine (104-95) with 5:46 left to play. The C's responded with a 15-2 spurt to stop any last rally by the Hawks, which was capped off with a Tatum 3-pointer and an emphatic breakaway dunk with 2:06 remaining on the game clock.
"We've been a group that's hung our hat on defense all year," Brown said to reporters postgame. "We play both sides of the ball and we do it at a high level. Sometimes it goes unnoticed. But when it comes down to it, the playoffs, that’s where our defense matters the most."
The Celtics will look to extend their best-of-7 series lead to 3-0, as this first-round matchup shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 Friday night. ESPN has the tip-off at 7:00 ET.
Boston hit 55.8% of their field goals, including 15-of-33 (45.5%) from 3-point range, while the Hawks were 42.6% from the floor and 16-of-48 (33.3%) from long distance. The Celtics were out-rebounded 49-44, but outscored the visiting team in the paint 64-40. The C's dished out 28 assists on 48 baskets, while Atlanta had 21 dimes on 43 made shots.
Photo used courtesy of USA Today
Photo used courtesy of USA Today