C’s Get Huge Home Win In Game 3
Heading into Game 3 of their first round playoff match up with the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics desperately needed a win. To the joy of the pumped up TD Garden crowd, the C's delivered with a gritty, 111-103 victory.
Boston came out hot in the first quarter, flipping the switch on poor opening quarter performances from games one and two. After scoring just 26 points in the first quarter of the first two games combined, the C's exploded for 37 in there first home playoff game this season.
Taking a 17-point lead into the second quarter, the C's kept the good times rolling through the half, as they hit 45.5 percent of their shots from the field and 37.5 percent of their 3-point attempts and took a 57-45 lead into the half.
Isaiah Thomas, who struggled mightily in Game 2, burst out of the gate, leading Boston's first half scoring charge with 19 points.
Combine the C's hot offensive start with the fact that Atlanta came out absolutely flat from the 3-point line, shooting just 11.8 percent from deep, and all signs pointed to Boston cutting the Hawks' series lead to 2-1.
The second half, however, was a different story. After ballooning their lead to 19 points early in the third quarter, the C's saw that advantage evaporate in front of their eyes. By the end of the third Boston's lead was down to just one point.
In the fourth, the two teams traded early buckets and the lead up until the midway mark.
With about just over seven minutes left to play, Thomas and the C's began to pull away.
Led by the diminutive guard, who dropped 42 points on the night, Boston notched their first win of the series and split Atlanta's lead in two.
Along with Thomas, who shot a cool 50 percent from the field, the C's had four other players in double figures on the night. Most notably, were the surprising starting line up additions of Evan Turner and Jonas Jerebko.
Turner put in 17 points, along with seven assists and five steals, in 34 minutes, while Jerebko added a big double-double, notching 11 points and 12 rebounds in 37 minutes of play.
Boston also got a huge boost from center Amir Johnson, who added 15 points and seven rebounds in an extended role.
While Boston played solid defense down the stretch and locked down late in the game, the didn't have their best night overall. They'll need to tighten things up a bit for Game 4, as the Hawks will likely shoot better than 25 percent from 3-point range throughout the rest of the series.
All in all, the win was vitally important for Boston tonight. A loss would have all but spelled the end of the C's season, but a win could bring new life to the sixth ranked team. With another home game coming up, Boston has a real chance to tie things up and enter the back half of this series with a clean slate and a real chance to advance to the second round.