Court Vision: Hawks drop Celtics for 10th straight victory
Going inside the Hawks’ 105-91 win over the Celtics at TD Garden in Boston.
1. THE HAWKS CONTINUED TWO STREAKS
Even Frank "the Tank," who started one of the most monumental streaks of all time when he disrobed and bolted from a Snoop Dogg concert in the movie "Old School," would be impressed with these Hawks.
By thumping the Celtics on Wednesday, the Hawks won their 10th straight game and their 10th consecutive road game.
The 10th win in a row set a season high. From Nov. 28 through Dec. 12, the Hawks won nine straight, but a one-point loss to Orlando ended that streak before it could reach double digits. Boston wasn’t able to keep Atlanta from 10.
This streak of 10 is the longest run since 1997 when the Hawks won 11 in a row from late October though the middle of November.
Atlanta’s 10th consecutive road win extends a franchise record. The Hawks are now 15-5 on the road, and having unparalleled success away from Philips Arena. The last time Atlanta lost on the road was in Orlando on Dec. 13, when the Magic ended Atlanta’s nine-game winning streak.
2. PLAYERS WERE RESTED ONCE AGAIN
Back-to-back games are never fun in the NBA, but the Hawks were fortunate with this portion of the schedule to face the 76ers on Tuesday and then the Celtics, teams with a combined 20 wins (Boston is now 13-24, Philadelphia 7 -32).
Atlanta rested Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague against the 76ers and still won by 18. On Wednesday, the Hawks left Kyle Korver and Al Horford in street clothes and topped Boston by 13.
Resting players will definitely benefit this team as the season wears on. Truth of that was evident immediately as Carroll and Teague each busted out 22 points against the Celtics, and Millsap had 18.
The trio of rested players from the previous night not only led the Hawks in scoring, they shot 57.1 percent from the floor (20 for 35) and Millsap’s 10 boards gave him a double-double.
As important as the rested legs, is the way this team functioned on both nights without major stars on the floor. Atlanta’s offense was still every bit as potent and unselfish, and the defense tenacious.
3. ATLANTA’S DEFENSE KEPT BOSTON IN CHECK EARLY AND ALLOWED THE HAWKS TO RUN AWAY LATE
After the Hawks jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, the Celtics rallied and went on a 17-10 run to tie the score at 24. During the moments when Boston was righting the ship, the Hawks were regrouping and refocusing on defense.
Had the Hawks not tightened up on defense, Boston might have kept that first-quarter run going, and this game could have ended differently. But a smart group got very active in defense of the hoop.
Both the individual and team defense was very good, especially in the first half. The players from all over the floor — not just guys in the paint — collapsed on the ball when Boston brought the ball inside, and the Hawks moved well without the ball to cut off potential passing lanes.
Atlanta entered the game sixth in the NBA with 8.9 steals per game. The Hawks thieved 13 passes from the Celtics on Wednesday, and posted their 15th game this season with at least 10 steals. Atlanta is 14-1 when they hit double digits in steals.
The Hawks also kept control of the pace of the game and negated fast- break opportunities. Boston averaged 16 fast-break points per game coming in, but only mustered five versus the Hawks.
STATS THE MATTER
4: On a night when Atlanta was steal-happy with 13, no one was more prolific than Pero Antic, who set a career high with four swipes.
27: The Hawks moved to 31-8 on Wednesday, nabbing that 31st win on Jan. 14. Last season Atlanta didn’t get win No. 31 until March 18. This team is 27 games ahead of where it was last season in terms of wins.