Three Key Storylines
- Jayson Tatum and Trae Young star
- Neemias Queta plays key role
- C's bounce back on the boards
The Boston Celtics' dominance at TD Garden continued Sunday night vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
Boston remains one of two teams (Denver Nuggets) that are undefeated at home as it improved to 7-0 this season in front of the Garden crowd. With the 113-103 victory, the Celtics held the Hawks' potent offense to its lowest scoring total of the season thus far.
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While it was a bounce-back win for the C's, there's still plenty of room for improvement in the third quarter. Atlanta cut Boston's 20-point lead to six points in the frame. It's an ongoing issue for the Celtics, who scored just 21 points in the third quarter vs. the Hawks after totaling only 18 in the third in Friday's loss to Orlando. It's the sixth time they've been short of 22 points in the third quarter through 17 games.
Nevertheless, the Celtics held on in the fourth quarter to improve to 13-4 on the campaign. They did so without starters Jrue Holiday (ankle) and Kristaps Porzingis (calf).
Jayson Tatum paced Boston with 34 points on the night while Jaylen Brown chipped in 21. Derrick White notched a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists, and Sam Hauser stayed hot off the bench with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.
Trae Young led Atlanta with 33 points. Bogdan Bogdanović tallied 23 off the bench and hit seven of his 10 3-pointers.
Next up for Boston is an In-Season Tournament matchup vs. the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. First, here are our takeaways from Sunday's action.
Tatum outduels Young
The stars were out in Boston on Sunday night.
Jayson Tatum vs. Trae Young lived up to the hype as both superstars stepped up for their respective squads. This time, it was Tatum getting the edge.
Tatum erupted for 21 first-half points to keep pace with Young, who entered the half with 20. After being held scoreless in the Celtics' sluggish third quarter, the four-time All-Star dropped 13 in the fourth to propel Boston to victory.
Tatum and Young traded big shots throughout the fourth quarter. Young ended up with 33 points (12-27 FG, 6-16 3-PT), but Tatum was just a tad better. He hit 11 of his 25 shots (5-13 3-PT) to finish with 34 points. He also logged nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Although he wasn't thrilled with his six turnovers, Tatum did enough to lead his team to a bounce-back win. Whenever the Hawks made a run, Tatum was the one who answered. He'll look to duplicate his performance -- while cutting down on the TOs -- on Tuesday night.
Neemias Queta brings a spark
With Porzingis out, reserve big man Neemias Queta got some playing time. It was the 24-year-old's second taste of NBA regular-season action.
Queta made the most of his time on the court. The 2022-23 All-NBA G League selection entered early in the second quarter and was a menace on the boards, bringing down 10 rebounds (six offensive) in 15 minutes.
Although his touch around the rim needs some work (3-8 FG), Queta still made an impact on the offensive end with seven points. It was a significant improvement over his NBA debut last week in Memphis when he had zero points (0-1 FG) and two rebounds in five minutes.
Queta received a well-deserved ovation from the TD Garden crowd when he first checked out of the game in the second quarter, then he gave fans an encore with an impressive performance in the third. Fans may see more of Queta in the near term while Porzingis recovers from his calf injury.
Better on the boards
The Celtics' rebounding struggles -- particularly on the offensive boards -- led to their demise in Friday's loss to Orlando. They made significant strides in that category on Sunday night.
They recorded 13 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points in the first half to surpass their totals (four offensive boards, eight second-chance points) from Friday's game. Queta's contributions played a major role in that improvement, but Boston got contributions throughout the roster.
Al Horford, starting in place of the injured Porzingis, logged a season-high 15 rebounds (three offensive). He tied his previous season-high of 10 rebounds midway through the third quarter.
Jaylen Brown had seven boards to go with his 21 points. Dalano Banton had five rebounds (two offensive) in his fourth career start. Derrick White and Sam Hauser had two offensive rebounds apiece.
The Celtics finished with a season-high 58 rebounds and 18 offensive boards after getting killed on the glass in Orlando. They'll hope the trend continues in Tuesday's In-Season Tournament showdown with Chicago.