The Boston Celtics will try to win their eighth consecutive game Wednesday night when they go on the road to face the Atlanta Hawks.
Despite some poor long-range shooting Monday, the Celtics overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-122. Boston forced 20 turnovers in staging their comeback and outscored the Thunder 37-26 in the final 12 minutes.
“I thought in the first half we just weren’t sharp,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said after his team made just 27 percent of its 3-point shots (10-for-37). “We looked a little tired, and I thought our bench unit did a great job of bringing the energy and kind of picking us up.
“Once we were able to be picked up, we executed on both ends of the floor. It was a team effort, and because of our depth we were able to rely on that.”
With Malcolm Brogdon unavailable Monday (hamstring), Boston received a spark off the bench from Payton Pritchard, who finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds and two steals in 14 minutes.
Pritchard made a 3-pointer late in the third quarter and then had a steal and a layup just before the buzzer to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 96-89 entering the final quarter.
“Payton’s a guy you know what you’re getting every single time you put him in the game,” Mazzulla said. “I felt we needed a lift and I thought he did a great job on both ends of the floor of giving us that.”
The Hawks have been playing good basketball lately as well. Atlanta enters Wednesday’s matchup having won five of seven.
All five starters scored in double figures Monday to help Atlanta earn a 121-106 road victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. It was the sixth time in the team’s 14 games that Atlanta’s entire starting lineup scored at least 10 points.
It was also Milwaukee’s first loss in eight home games this season.
“We were playing against the No. 1 defense in the league,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re going to defend your first and your second option. We needed to play in our third and our fourth option. Make them defend, and not take quick shots against their defense.”
De’Andre Hunter led the Hawks with 24 points.
“I was just trying to come out being aggressive,” Hunter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s what my team needs from me. It’s what the coaches (have) been telling me, and that’s what I’m trying to do every game.”
Atlanta center Clint Capela had 19 points and 10 rebounds against Milwaukee, marking the sixth time in the past seven games he has recorded a double-double.
The Boston-Atlanta matchup will feature two of the NBA’s top scorers: Boston’s Jayson Tatum is averaging 31.9 points, and Atlanta’s Trae Young 26.9.
The Celtics have a 5-2 road record, and the Hawks are 5-2 at home.
–Field Level Media