Giving up 42 points in a messy third quarter, the Hawks lost to the Celtics 105-95 Sunday in Boston.
Next up, the Hawks will host the Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Below are some takeaways from the loss:
1. Approaching the All-Star break, Hawks coach Nate McMillan has said he wants the team to finish these last few games strong, with every matchup carrying significance for Atlanta if it wants to finish in the top six spots in the Eastern Conference and avoid the play-in tournament. Instead of picking up steam, though, the Hawks are fizzling, having lost two straight and four of their last five. They fell to four games under .500 at 26-30, and though they’re still No. 10 in the standings, they’re now six games behind the sixth-seeded Celtics.
2. After being handled in the third quarter by Boston, Atlanta couldn’t make up enough ground in the final period. The Celtics outscored the Hawks 42-23 in the third quarter and held the Hawks to 40 points in the second half. De’Andre Hunter picked up his fourth foul early in the third, and without him on the floor, Jayson Tatum dominated, with 25 of his 38 points coming in the second half.
“They made plays, and we couldn’t get a stop,” Trae Young said. “We needed to get a stop to stop their run. They scored 40 points in that third quarter. We did a really good job on the defensive end the whole night except that third quarter. It kind of got away from us.”
3. Before the third quarter tainted the game, the Hawks played a good first half, leading by 10 at the break and doing a solid job of containing Boston’s dangerous wings, Tatum and Jaylen Brown (who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists). McMillan said the Hawks got distracted by the officiating, with Atlanta’s defense suffering because of that.
“I thought we were playing a good solid game in that first half, defensively,” McMillan said. “We were doing the things we needed to do, keeping them in front, making them score over the top. Our defense was really good; I thought our offense had good ball movement. We were attacking. So the first half was really good. I thought in that (third) quarter, we got distracted by officiating, they got into the penalty early and they had a 42-point quarter.”
4. Young led the Hawks with a double-double of 30 points and 10 assists, but the Hawks wouldn’t have stayed in this game had it not been for an excellent game from Bogdan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic finished with a season-high 26 points, plus six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
5. The Hawks were without John Collins, who reaggravated his foot and sustained a right foot strain in Friday’s loss to the Spurs. Collins will miss the Hawks’ final two games heading into the All-Star break. Danilo Gallinari started in Collins’ place and finished with five points, with Hunter (10 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals) helping to fill in for Collins, too.
Stat of the game: 42 (the number of points the Hawks gave up in the third quarter, going from a 10-point lead at halftime to a nine-point deficit entering the fourth)
Star of the game: Tatum (had 25 points in the second half, lifting the Celtics to the win)
Quotable: “I thought the whole game changed.” (McMillan on what went wrong in the third quarter)