NBA: Celtics overcome big first-half hole to top Hawks | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Celtics overcome big first-half hole to top Hawks

/ 12:15 PM March 02, 2022
Jayson Tatum Celtics

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after Grant Williams #12 scored against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on March 01, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Hawks 107-98. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

The Boston Celtics overcame a 17-point deficit in the first half and defeated the visiting Atlanta Hawks 107-98 on Tuesday night.

Jayson Tatum led Boston with 33 points on 12-for-25 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Derrick White and Grant Williams added 18 apiece and Marcus Smart scored 16. Robert Williams had nine points and 13 rebounds.

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The Celtics held a 56-33 scoring edge in the second half.

Boston played nearly the entire game without Jaylen Brown, who suffered a right ankle sprain while attacking the basket after just 2:48. The star guard didn’t return despite leaving the court under his own power.

For Atlanta, Trae Young scored 31 points but shot just 2 of 7 from the 3-point line and was held to nine points in the second half. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 15 of his 25 in the back half.

The Celtics opened the second half of a 12-0 run before Young’s 3-pointer at 7:26 marked the first points for the visitors.

After holding a 31-13 scoring edge in the third quarter, the hosts kept control of the game in the fourth quarter. Layups by Smart and Tatum made it a 10-point game with 5:27 left before Grant Williams hit back-to-back triples with less than four minutes to play to expand the lead to 102-88.

Boston held a 4-0 lead for 3:56 as the visitors scored just six points in the opening six minutes before exploding to lead by 14 at halftime.

Young briefly left with a left ankle sprain after being fouled by Smart on an attempted 3-pointer in the final minute of the opening period, but he scored 11 more of his 22 first-half points after returning for the second quarter.

Onyeka Okongwu’s dunk and Young’s two free throws opened a 19-19 game and started a 9-0 run at the end of the first for Atlanta, which went 9-for-10 at the foul line in the period. Boston didn’t attempt a single free throw.

Boston cut its second-quarter deficit to six on Payton Pritchard’s triple with 9:19 left, but it increased to 16 in less than three minutes, with Danilo Gallinari’s two baskets ending a run. Young’s layup with 4:02 left gave Atlanta its largest lead.

Al Horford’s 3-pointer with 9:59 left highlighted Boston’s 6-for-11 start in the third. There were five ties and three lead changes in the period, but Grant Williams‘ layup and putback established four-point advantages before the buzzer.

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