NBA News: How Celtics Outmatched Hawks In Game 1 Win

How Celtics Outmatched Trae Young’s Hawks In Game 1 Win

Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

After outscoring the Atlanta Hawks by a staggering 74-44 margin at halftime, the Boston Celtics did their best work early to create enough of an advantage to win Game 1 of their first-round series in the 2023 NBA playoffs. There was a second-half rallying effort from the opposition, but they held on to win.

Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 25 points in the first half, finishing with 11 rebounds. Jaylen Brown led the team in both categories with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Derrick White was the third Celtics player to cross the 20-point threshold in the game, scoring 25.

“We expect to get their best shot,” Brown said. “We let them get a little more comfortable in the second half, so I expect the next game for them to be a little more prepared. So we’ve got to be a little more prepared as well.”

The closest the Hawks had come in the second half was when they cut the deficit to just 110-97 with two minutes remaining. While that served as a scare for the Celtics, it was again a reminder that a strong start proved to be especially valuable in setting the tone.

“Human nature plays a part. But we don’t want things like that to haunt us,” Tatum said.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS SCORES: Trae Young, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics & Atlanta Hawks Updates

It was yet another poor playoff performance from Trae Young, who had an atrocious first-round series against the Miami Heat last year. He finished with only 16 points, often getting bottled up in high pick-and-rolls. He shot 5-18 from the floor while going 1-6 from deep and recording five turnovers. Dejounte Murray had 24 points, but he shot 10-25 overall and 0-6 from beyond the arc.

“You can’t be down that much and expect to come back and win,” Young said. “But we still fought. We were being aggressive in that second half.”

With the Hawks’ attack starting with their backcourt, it’s especially problematic for them to face a Celtics matchup that features Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Jaylen Brown as top perimeter defenders. Atlanta proved unable to overcome, shooting 38.8 percent from the floor as a team and 17.2 percent from 3-point range. They were outclassed in many ways.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS SCORES: Trae Young, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics & Atlanta Hawks Updates

Another element of the Celtics that makes them such a tough matchup for the Hawks is their ability to match size and speed when needed. Boston deployed White in the starting lineup instead of going big with Robert Williams III. Doing so proved to be a compelling call by disrupting Young early on. Atlanta simply lacks the talent to overcome.

The Celtics and Hawks return to action on Tuesday to play Game 2 of the series. Boston begins with a 1-0 series lead and will host the next game before the series heads to Atlanta for the next two.

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