The Boston Celtics’ penchant for blowing big leads in recent
home games has left Brad Stevens providing marketing suggestions to
his front office.
The last time the Celtics met the Atlanta Hawks ended with the
type of comeback Stevens would prefer.
After rallying from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit
against the Hawks last month, Boston looks for a fourth straight
win in this series in Tuesday’s matinee at TD Garden.
The Celtics (13-17) blew a 21-point lead in a 107-106 loss to
Detroit on Dec. 18, an 18-point lead in a 106-99 loss to Washington
three days later and let most of a 22-point cushion disappear
Saturday before holding off Cleveland 103-100.
”You know, I was telling (team President) Rich Gotham it should
have been promoted as part of our holiday package,” Stevens said.
”Every game is an adventure.”
Boston has been outscored by an average of 9.0 points in the
second half of its last seven home games.
“Again, we’ve made the last couple weeks an adventure, and we
haven’t played the right way the whole game,” the coach said. “And
whether that’s in the first half or the fourth quarter, we have to
become a better team for 48 minutes.”
The Celtics have lost seven games when ahead or tied at the
half, the most in the Eastern Conference.
“I don’t think we really get concerned about it,” center Jared
Sullinger said of opponents rallying against the Celtics. “We are
kind of cool, calm, and collected. Everybody is going to make their
run in this league, we just have to learn how to keep a lead.”
The Hawks (17-14) couldn’t hang onto a sizable one when they saw
Boston last month. Atlanta led 76-64 with 11:14 remaining, but the
Celtics finished the game on a 30-11 run to win 94-87.
The Hawks will play their third game without center Al Horford,
who will undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday to repair his torn
right pectoral muscle. Paul Millsap had 33 points and 13 boards in
a 118-116 overtime win against Charlotte on Saturday, but was held
to 17 and missed 10 of 14 field-goal attempts in Sunday’s 109-102
loss at Orlando.
Atlanta took a brief three-point lead in the fourth, but then
gave up a 9-0 run as it played its third game in four nights – and
its first in the past four that didn’t involve at least one
”I don’t know when fatigue comes in,” coach Mike Budenholzer
said. ”Obviously, we had enough to come back and take the lead. I
think you have to give Orlando credit more than anything. They made
some plays and their defense picked up and we weren’t able to
execute. We couldn’t attack.”
Jeff Teague has attacked plenty of late, averaging 25.5 points
and 9.3 assists while shooting 53.3 percent in the last four games,
and he may be eager to redeem himself against Boston. Teague went 3
for 15 against the Celtics last month.
Atlanta has lost six of its last seven on the road, allowing an
average of 112.7 points.