Generating early offense has been one of Boston’s biggest struggles this season, but in Atlanta Friday night, the Celtics produced one of their greatest starts in recent memory.
Boston erupted for 45 points during the first quarter at State Farm Arena – its highest-scoring frame on the road since tallying 46 in Dallas in January of 1996, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The entire quarter could’ve qualified as the “Key Moment” of Friday night’s game, but there was one run in particular that stood out during that frame.
From the 6:05 mark to the 3:20 mark, Boston outscored the Hawks 18-5 – that’s 18 points in less than a quarter of a quarter.
The Celtics, as a team, shot 7-for-7 from the field during that specific stretch, including a 4-of-4 clip from beyond the arc. Marcus Morris hit the last two triples of that run, putting Boston on top with a commanding, 36-16 lead.
Atlanta never came close to catching the C’s after that point, as it remained down by double digits for the rest of the game, falling 114-96 on its home court.
Boston’s frontcourt was shorthanded Friday night in Atlanta, where it was without veteran big man Al Horford for the first time all season. Fortunately, Aron Baynes was up for the challenge of filling the void against the Hawks, and he did a heck of a job in doing so.
Baynes poured in a season-high 16 points, tied a season best with four assists, and also corralled his second-highest rebounding total of the campaign with nine boards. His scoring and rebounding numbers led the team in what was a well-balanced attack from start to finish.
The veteran center was also one of the most efficient players on the floor, knocking down 5-of-7 from the field, including his only 3-point attempt of the game, while also going a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.
With Horford out, Baynes picked the perfect time to have his best game of the season.
Box Score Nuggets
- Aron Baynes tallied team-highs of 16 points and nine rebounds.
- Jeremey Lin led the game in scoring (19 points) and assists (10).
- Six Celtics dished out three or more assists, led by seven from Marcus Smart.
- Boston assisted on 31 of its 42 field goals.
- Atlanta had just two fewer turnovers (20) than assists (22).
- The Celtics scored 42 points in the paint (eight in the first half and 34 in the second).
- The two benches combined for 119 points. Atlanta’s reserves notched 66 and Boston’s second unit logged 53.
- Boston led by as many as 29 points.
- The Celtics scored 18 second-chance points on seven offensive boards.
- Gordon Hayward led the game with a plus-20.
- Dewayne Dedmon had a minus-38 for the Hawks.
- Daniel Theis fouled out in just 16 minutes.
- The C’s scored the same amount of points in the first quarter (45) as the Hawks scored in the first half.
Quote of the Night
We’ve still got a lot of room for improvement, but it’s better to learn when you win than it is to learn when you lose.
Aron Baynes on the game.
Marcus Smart is now tied with his boss, Danny Ainge, for most 3-pointers (348) made by a C…