- JuliaKate E. Culpepper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
After a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks returned to Philips Arena and took the Boston Celtics to the wire on Monday in a 110-107 loss.
Here are a few observations from the Hawks’ ninth loss of the season:
Over the past few games, even in the Hawks’ win over the Cavaliers on Sunday, Atlanta has shown fatigue late in the third and entering the fourth quarter.
On Monday night, the Hawks (2-9) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter with defensive pressure, excellent rebounding by Kent Bazemore and an 11-2 run. The Hawks took the lead back courtesy of a 3-pointer by Bazemore with 5:27 left in the game.
The Hawks shot 32 points in the fourth quarter compared to the Celtics who shot 28, with five of those points coming from Celtics guard Kyrie Irving in the last 25 seconds of the game.
“It’s frustrating (when Irving goes off) but that’s what he gets paid to do,” Malcolm Delaney said. “He’s probably one of the best in the league at just doing what he does and closing fourth quarters and they won eight in a row for a reason.”
The Hawks lost some ground in the third quarter when the Celtics went on a 16-4 run.
Dewayne Dedmon, Dennis Schroder and Marco Belinelli— the Hawks three lead scorers against the Celtics—all checked out of the game at some point during the run.
Entering Monday’s game, the Celtics were ranked 23rd in the league in points scored per game (102.9) and the Hawks took advantage of it.
In the first half alone, there were 13 lead changes as the Hawks kept up with the Celtics on both sides of the ball. Boston shot 48.1 percent from the field and 38.9 beyond the arc while Atlanta shot 48.1 percent from the field and 50 percent beyond the arc.
In the span of five minutes in the third quarter, the Hawks (4) and Celtics (2) combined sank six 3-point shots.
Two of the Hawks’ 3’s in those five minutes belonged to Schroder while Belineli and Prince each shot one.
When Schroder had a slow start and only two points in the first quarter, Dedmon stepped up to lead the Hawks in rebounds (6) and tied Schroder in points scored (13) in the first half.
Dedmon finished Monday’s game with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
“I think it was one of Dewayne’s better games... I thought he was active on the boards and active communicating defensively,” Budenholzer said.
The Celtics entered Monday’s game averaging 14.7 turnovers per game and the Hawks forced 14 on Monday.
The Hawks scored 14 points off the Celtics eight first-half turnovers, 22 points total.
"The most important thing is how we competed and I think we got better tonight," Budenholzer said.
In the first six minutes of the game, the Hawks were shooting 36.4 percent from the field and Prince missed the team’s only 3-point attempt. Prince also missed the team’s only free throw attempt early in teh first quarter.
Despite missing open looks early in the game, the Hawks trailed the Celtics 26-25 at the end of the first quarter.
The Celtics shot 25.7 in the first six minute with Irving shooting 2-of-4 from the field and one of his two 3-point shots. Celtics’ Al Horford also shot 2-of-4 and hit his only 3-point attempt.
Delaney looked aggressive in his first game back from an ankle injury.
After two missed games, the second-year player out of Virginia Tech played 28 minutes and scored 13 points, including a critical three in the fourth quarter which put the Hawks up 103-101 with 2:06 remaining in the game.
Budenholzer said he thought Delaney “played great” and gave the team some “great minutes.”
“Hopefully I can just keep playing well and doing whatever coach asks me to do,” Delaney said.
The rookie’s still learning, but shows signs of promise.
After some issues with ball security on Sunday against the Cavaliers, John Collins struggled on Monday defensively when he racked up three personal fouls in the first quarter.
Budenholzer acknowledged Collins as well as Luke Babbitt were in foul trouble in the first half.
Collins made up for it in the third quarter with a monster dunk.
The rookie out of Wake Forest had another dunk early in the fourth quarter and finished Monday’s game with eight points and five personal fouls.
In his second start for the Hawks, Luke Babbitt delivered offensively and defensively in the first quarter. Babbitt shot 2-of-2 fromthe field and sank his only three-point attemp in the six minutes he played in the fourth quarter. Babbitt finished Monday’s game with nine points and five rebounds.
Next up for the Hawks:
Hawks have a few days off before they travel to play the Detroit Pistons on Friday at 7 p.m. at Little Ceasars Arena.