Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Hawks 120, Celtics 118: Boston blows 30-point lead, get win streak snapped despite Jayson Tatum dropping 37

The Celtics looked like they were going to cruise to their 10th consecutive victory, before blowing a 30-point lead to get stunned by the Atlanta Hawks 120-118 at State Farm Arena Monday night.

Playing without the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week in Derrick White (hand) and Jrue Holiday (shoulder sprain) for the fifth straight game, Boston relied on Jayson Tatum for point guard duties -- finishing with 37 points (to lead all scorers) on 13-of-26 from the field and eight rebounds.

Jaylen Brown had 24 points on 10-of-22 shooting, Kristaps Porzingis added 17 points and Payton Pritchard chipped in 15 points, six assists off the bench for the C's -- that fell to 57-15 on the season with 10 games left to play in the regular season.

De'Andre Hunter led the Hawks with 24 points, including a dagger 3-pointer (4-of-8) with 10 seconds left to play. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 22 points on 8-of-15 from the field, while Dejounte Murray recorded a double-double of 19 points, 15 assists and Clint Capela also notched 14 points, 12 rebounds to help improve Atlanta -- playing without Trae Young (15 straight game) -- to 32-39.

Al Horford hit his only 3-pointer of the game with 4:23 remaining in the first half to give Boston a 68-38 advantage (the game's largest margin), before the Hawks used a 18-6 run to cut the deficit to 19 (74-56) at the break.

Atlanta kept their momentum going with a 19-4 spurt to start the third quarter and get within three (78-75), but the Celtics stayed ahead the rest of the period and were up 96-90 heading into the final frame.

Wesley Matthews gave the Hawks their first lead (97-96) on a 3-pointer with 9:42 remaining as part of a 13-2 run. Murray put the home team ahead for good (1:00 left to play) on a reverse layup, before Brown missed a desperation 3-ball on the ensuing possession with the shot clock running down. Capela on an offensive rebound and tap back to Hunter, sealed the victory for Atlanta with a top of the key 3 -- to give them their largest lead of the night (120-116).

In the end the Hawks outscored Boston 64-44 in the second half and also registered six players scoring in double-figures, including Vit Krejci with 16 points and former Celtic Bruno Fernando with 13 off the bench.

The last time Boston gave up a 30-point lead in a loss was back during the 1996-97 campaign, while this comeback win for the Hawks makes it the biggest in their franchise history since the 1997-98 season.
"We let our foot off the gas in the second half, and they got in a great rhythm," Tatum said in his postgame comments of the C's collapse. "It's a tough pill to swallow."
The Celtics will remain in Atlanta to face off against the Hawks once more come Thursday night.

Game Notes:

Boston connected on 49.5% from the field, including 11-of-38 (28.9%) from behind the arc, while the Hawks were 52.9% from the floor and 18-of-36 (50%) from 3-point range. The C's were out-rebounded 44-38 but did win the points in the paint battle 56-50. Atlanta dished out 30 assists (13 turnovers) on 46 baskets to the Celtics 21 dimes (nine turnovers) on 49 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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