Monday, April 24, 2023

Celtics 129, Hawks 121: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum each notch 31 in Game 4 [BOS leads series, 3-1]

The Celtics took care of business against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night with a 129-121 win at State Farm Arena in Game 4, to which they led almost wire-to-wire.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the team's high scorers with 31 points a piece. Tatum shot 8-of-20 from the field and was 4-of-13 on three-point shooting, while Brown had a more efficient night of 12-of-22 from the floor while knocking down 3-of-4 from 3-point territory. 

Brown actually started the night 1-of-7 from the field before taking his protective face mask off during a timeout in the first half and went 11-of-15 after he removed it.
"Maybe it was all in my head, but I just need a different look. "I felt like to start the game I didn't like the looks that I got, so I just needed something to switch up a little bit and as soon as I took it off things started to turn around," Brown said of his mid-game mask removal during his postgame comments.
The Celtics are now 22-1 when both Tatum and Brown score 30 or more points respectively, including the postseason -- per ESPN Stats & Info.

Marcus Smart, who was listed as questionable prior to Game 4, finished with 19 points and Derrick White added 18 points on 7-of-14 attempts. Robert Williams and his do-it-all performance resulted in a stat line of 13 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks. Both 'Time Lord' and Al Horford (five assists), who grabbed 11 rebounds himself, were key contributors to the Celtics continued focus on winning the rebound battle with Atlanta and limiting the Hawks second chance opportunities, as Boston won the rebounding margin 49-42.
"When he plays at that level we are a different team," Celtics Head Coach Joe Mazzulla said of Williams. "He brings energy and a level of joy to our team constantly so when he plays like that we are different…We're constantly reminding him of that."
All-Star point guard Trae Young was the leading scorer for the Hawks on Sunday night with 35 points on 11-of-26 from the field and 4-of-10 from behind the arc. Young also displayed his playmaking skills, as reflected in the team leading 15 assists he racked up. Young's dribble penetration and pressure at the rim aided Atlanta's offense throughout the contest. 

De'Andre Hunter, who averaged 15.4 points per game during the regular season, put in a surprising 27-point performance on an uber efficient 11-of-17 shooting, while Dejounte Murray netted 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Hawks as well.

Besides the 3-0 lead Atlanta had to start the the game, Boston jumped in front and never looked back. The Celtics were ahead 53-49 at the 3:07 minute mark in the second quarter before using a 12-4 run to close the half with a score of 65-53. The Hawks continued to make runs in the final two quarters but were never able to get within one possession.

The Celtics with a commanding 3-1 lead, will look to close out their best-of-7 series in Game 5 and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday night at TD Garden, with the game set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 51.7% from the field, including 16-of-40 (40%) from deep, while the Hawks were 43.9% from the floor and 14-of-37 (37.8%) from long distance. The Celtics outscored the home team 56-44 in the paint. The C's dished out 25 assists (16 turnovers) on 46 baskets and the Hawks also had 25 dimes (12 turnovers) on 43 made shots.

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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